“I must be on every prayer list in Augusta and the surrounding areas,” Clifford said. “I think that worked.”
She found the lump during a routine self-exam and chose to have a mastectomy once she learned it was cancerous.
“I think I was in shock of course, as most people are,” she said. “I just realized, well, I was going to have to go through it. I don’t think it really sunk in until we started the chemo.”
Clifford’s brother and uncle both had breast cancer, so for 10 years, her oncologist pushed her to have the gene test done.
When she finally did, she learned she has the BRCA2 gene. In 2008, she had her remaining breast removed and three months later learned she had colon cancer.
Also in 2008, she had a gall bladder removed, and her mother died.
“I was glad to see the end of ’08,” she said.
Her faith, a good support system and a sense of humor helped her through it all.
“A funny story,” she said. “When I was doing chemotherapy, I lost my hair. My first day back at school – I taught at Glenn Hills High School – I was wearing a wig. It was very windy that day, and the wig blew off my head in the parking lot. I was searching under cars for my wig. There was one student out there. He was struck dumb!”