One of Linda Grooms’ pastimes includes watching University of Georgia Bulldogs football, and just like the proverbial bulldog known for its persistence, Grooms has a tenacity that has gotten her through some difficult times over the past several years.
Grooms lost her twin sister, Karen, to breast cancer in 1994, and her mother also had the disease, so she wasn’t surprised when she was first diagnosed with it in 2008.
“I figured I was bound to have it,” said the Lincolnton woman, who has battled the disease twice in nine years as well as suffered the death of her husband, Tim, in 2012.
The first time she had breast cancer, Grooms had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. She’d watched her sister go through her treatments, and Grooms’ was far more palatable because of the advances in medicine.
“When she had it, she was deathly sick with chemo,” she said. “Hers compared to mine was totally different. I was never sick at all.”
With a clean bill of health for several years, Grooms continued having regular mammograms, which she calls a lifesaver; both tumors were discovered with mammograms.
She was diagnosed again in September 2016 and underwent a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. She said the first cancer and second cancer appear to have been unrelated.
While it’s been an emotional few years for Grooms, she tries to keep a positive outlook on life.
“Moping around and feeling sorry for yourself isn’t going to help,” said the retired business education teacher, who still works part time with the Future Business Leaders of America.
One silver lining is that her hair, which thinned significantly when she went through her chemotherapy in 2008, is now growing back thicker than before. “Who would’ve thought?” she asked.
She’ll be undergoing breast reconstruction surgery in January. “Looking forward to new boobs in 2018 at 62,” she said.
Her family and friends have been her biggest cheerleaders and supporters through her bouts with cancer and the death of her husband. She said she doesn’t know where she’d be without them.
She also looks forward to relaxing at the beach at Hilton Head where she celebrated the completion of her last radiation treatment. She loves it so much she’s buying a house there. Grooms said she lives life to the fullest, and encourages everyone to do the same.
“I realize that life is too short; do now what you want to do; don’t wait,” she said.