By Faye Ellison
Given her family’s medical history concerning breast cancer, her sister had a mastectomy and her mother’s sister had breast cancer as well, doctors knew the probability that Eugenia Walden could one day face the same struggle. But given her attitude and outlook on life, she admits it never really crossed her mind.
At 78, this Bartow resident said she was surprised herself to have such a full life for so long and sustain it cancer free.
“I feel very fortunate to live to see 78 and never had cancer before,” she said.
Though she did not dwell every day on whether her sister and aunt’s fate could one day be her own, Eugenia and her doctors took the necessary steps medically for early detection.
“They’ve known about my family’s history all this time,” Eugenia explained. “I’ve been on the diagnostic list and had a mammogram every six months. But nothing had changed in such a long period of time, I was back to an annual mammogram when we found this.”
Beginning in March of 2008, Eugenia had a mammogram and later that year in May, while doing a self breast exam, she said she detected a very small little bump in her left breast.
“I went to my gynecologist and mentioned it to him,” she said. “He couldn’t feel it and the mammogram didn’t catch it. I went back in six weeks and still couldn’t feel anything. He said if it was a tumor, it was very small and slow growing.”
This year in March, Eugenia had another annual mammogram with still no detection of her lump. Then she went for her check-up with her gynecologist and he was able to find it.
“He had a needle biopsy done,” Eugenia said. “It was a small malignant tumor. They said it was ductal cancer, but it was very, very small.
“Dr. Duggan in Augusta called me the same day of the biopsy. He called while I was out and talked to my husband. He said, ‘Tell your wife the tumor was malignant and we need to have a conference.’ My husband went ahead and set it up for that afternoon. When I came in, he told me and I could see he was really upset, but I told him it’s going to be all right. I have a strong faith in God and so I turned it over to Him.”
Though she did detect the fear of those heart stopping words in her husband, Eugenia said she does not remember every being afraid.
“If worse comes to worse, what makes me different from anybody else, why should I not get it?” Eugenia said. “I just dealt with it. I just did what needed to be done. My doctor scheduled me for surgery and they took the tissue out that was infected and two lymph nodes.
“It was a very small incision. I’ve had so much surgery and pain in my joints that this just felt like a breeze to me.”
Eugenia said she was back home by mid-afternoon from the day surgery, only feeling a bit groggy from the anesthesia. When she was checked after the surgery, there was no cancer around the site of the lump or in her lymph nodes. Though doctors were sure they got all of the cancer, knowing the fate of many women and men who also had breast cancer, Eugenia took extra precaution.
“After talking to my gynecologist and oncologist, I thought maybe having radiation might be the best route in case there was something they couldn’t detect,” she said.
On Tuesday, Sept. 15, Eugenia finished the last of her 33 radiation treatments. Though she said the worst part of the radiation was the daily trips to Augusta, Eugenia said she was tired.
“Different people react to radiation in different ways, some tan or blister,” she explained. “I looked like I had a slow suntan. My nipple area was sensitive and there was fatigue, but those were the worse side effects. I haven’t got all my strength back yet, but I’ve learn to do what I can and then rest. I can still get up and go. The whole time I was doing radiation, I did most of the things I was used to doing.”
Eugenia mentioned that many oncologists feel that there is a connections between hormone replace therapy and breast cancer, but she, as well as her doctors, feel this is not the case with her.
“I have been on hormone replacement therapy since my 30s and I still don’t think this had anything to do with my cancer,” she said. “I was never afraid of doing hormone therapy because my quality of life would have been so poor, I felt like I would deal with it once I got to it.”
Eugenia plans to talk to a specialist with breast cancer and hormones in Charleston, S.C., to see if she can start her hormone therapy again.
Until then, she will visit her oncologist on Oct. 5 and the radiation center on Oct. 15.
“I haven’t done any CAT scans, but they did a mammogram after the surgery and before the radiation, and everything came back clear.”
One key strategy Eugenia believes is helping her win the battle is early detection.
“I started with mammograms and self exams very early around 40 or maybe even before,” she said. “You know your body better than anybody else. My gynecologist said to do my self exams on the first day of every month when you are taking a shower using soap or body wash. You do the breast exam then because it is so early to feel. I invite anybody to do self exams regardless of their age. So many young people think it won’t happen to them, but they do have and even a lot of men. It is important to know your body.”
The next key to her success is the support she has found surrounding her throughout this entire ordeal.
“I want to thank all my friends and family for being so supportive,” she said warmly. “I want everybody to know how much that means to a person who has had cancer. And my husband, he was very protective and very supportive and he says, ‘You don’t have cancer anymore.’ That’s the way we look at it. I’m a cancer survivor.”
Officers search for leads in area thefts
By Faye Ellison
The Glascock County Sheriff’s Office has reported on a rash of thefts in the area, including two churches and several residences.
The first theft was reported at Friendship Baptist Church in Mitchell where the burglars entered the parsonage, a trailer next to the church, by prying open the back door at its lock.
It was discovered on Aug. 27 and reported that same day. Though nothing was reported missing, a deputy did find ATV tracks and one boot track near the residence.
On Aug. 31, Fellowship Baptist Church in Gibson and its parsonage were reported to the sheriff’s office to have been entered by force.
Several items were taken including a side table, table and chairs, place mats, a chrome tissue holder, dish towels, canister sets, decorative candles, towels, vacuum cleaner, ceiling light, two Sthil weed eaters, back pack sprayer and the chemicals for the sprayer. All of the stolen property was valued at more than $1,225.
The next theft came at a Highway 102 residence in Mitchell, sometime between Sept. 10 and 12. The victim had his green and black 2006 Polaris Sportsman 500 four wheeler outside of his residence.
The last time the victim saw the four wheeler was on Sept. 10. The following day he said he saw tracks in the dew, but did not notice it was missing until Sept. 12. He checked with his family to see if it had been borrowed but it had not.
Sometime between Sept. 12 and 14, another Highway 102 residence in Gibson had a lawn mower stolen from their pole barn.
The suspects left tire impressions and footprints where the mower had been. The deputy said it appeared by the tracks in the grass that the mower had been pushed across the yard toward Highway 102 to be taken.
A Steephollow Road residence in Gibson had its green Honda Rancher four wheeler taken from under its wood shed.
The last time the four wheeler was seen was on Sunday, Sept. 13, when the owner and his family were riding the Honda Rancher and when they were going for another ride on Tuesday, Sept. 15, they noticed it was missing.
The Sheriff’s Office was called to a Gene Rabun Road residence in Gibson on the morning of Sept. 24 for the theft of a green 2002 EZ-GO golf cart, which was last seen on the afternoon of Sept. 23. The golf cart was taken from under the carport at the residence.
Glascock County Sheriff Dean Couch asks that all citizens call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office to report any suspicious activity or vehicles to aid in curbing the rising thefts in the area.
Local judge charged with ag assault
By Carol McLeod
Jefferson County’s Chief Magistrate Murray Bowman was arrested Sunday, Sept. 27, by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and charged with aggravated assault.
Maj. Charlie Gibbons with the JCSO said Tuesday that deputies responded to a call around 12:05 a.m. Sunday about shots being fired.
“He was involved in an altercation with some other people at an address on old U.S. Highway 1,” Gibbons said.
“Nobody was shot. There were no injuries,” he said. “It’s a felony. He’s out on bond.”
Bond had been set at $25,000, he said.
Gibbons said Bowman has been suspended from his judicial duties by the appropriate judicial oversight authority while the case is pending.
“I’m sorry it happened. I’m going to do my job like it’s supposed to be done,” he said, adding everyone involved in the arrest acted accordingly.
Jefferson County District Attorney Hayward Altman said Bowman’s case would be handled by another prosecutor and would not be handled by either Superior Court Judge Bobby Reeves or Superior Court Judge Kathy Palmer.
“Our judges had to recuse themselves,” Altman said.
“I’ve actually made a request to the state attorney general’s office for an appointment of a special prosecutor to handle it to make sure there’s no appearance of impropriety or conflict to ensure the public knows the correct legal procedures are being followed. The law requires both the district attorney and the judges in this circuit to be disqualified automatically in these kinds of cases,” he said.
In a hand written statement to the press made Monday, Bowman said, “My wife and I are experiencing marital difficulties and divorce has been filed. I have been accused of impropriety; however, I feel that when all the facts are revealed I will be completely exonerated.
“None of this has anything to do with my job. I will continue to serve the good people of Jefferson County just as I have done for the past 20 years.
“My daughters and I hope that you will keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we move through this difficult time.”
Two robbed at gunpoint in same day
By Carol McLeod
A man armed with a handgun entered Flash Foods on the U.S. Highway 1 Bypass in Louisville Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 12:30 a.m., and demanded money from the clerk, a spokesman with the Louisville Police Department said.
“She gave him an undisclosed amount of cash from the register,” the spokesman said, adding the man had his face covered with a red T-shirt.
“He was looking out through the arm of the shirt. That’s the way he was using it,” he said.
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The second incident occurred later that night, about 11 p.m., at the BP station on the bypass, the spokesman said.
The clerk was robbed as she was getting in her vehicle.
Both clerks gave similar descriptions of the man who robbed them, the spokesman said.
“Build, height, all that is similar,” he said.
In the second incident, the man had a red bandana tied around his face and across his nose.
“He had a handgun. The store was not at a loss. He actually robbed the clerk herself,” the spokesman said.
In both incidents, the robber took an undisclosed amount of cash. He did not physically harm either clerk.
Police are asking for anyone with information about either incident to call Lt. Teddy Jackson at the LPD. The number is 478-625-8897.