Faces of survival: Shirley Arens

  • Follow Metro


FAMILY: Husband, David; four grown stepchildren and eight stepgrandchildren

OCCUPATION: Domestic engineer

DIAGNOSED: June 2006

WHAT HELPED: My close friend Miriam Jerome helped me. I had a sister who had cervical cancer 10 years ago who called me several times a day. I had a doctor who had faced leukemia. I had a lot of inspirational people encouraging me.

OUTLOOK: Cancer gives you a new perspective on everything. It's like you get another chance at life. I've decided I'm going to do the things I like to do. My husband doesn't like to dance, but I do. My girlfriends and I go to Cadillacs and go club dancing.

ADVICE: It is so important for women to get a mammogram every year. I started getting them when I was 40. It was just instilled in me. My cancer developed in a one-year period. I had breast cancer and one year before I did not.

PERSONAL: It was embarrassing losing my hair. I didn't feel great but I was lucky: I didn't get as sick as some people do. After the surgery, I dealt with lymphodema. That will never go away. This June I had to get an injection because my estrogen level was elevated -- which is not a good sign. I'm still dealing with things related to the breast cancer. This experience isn't over.


Top headlines
Doctor part of effort to improve response to mass casualties
Dr. Gina Piazza is helping to lead a task force to suggest better ways for emergency departments to respond to events like the nightclub shooting in Orlando but says it still doesn't have the ...
Search Augusta jobs