Survivor Tells Her Story

Thursday, October 25, 2018

It all started with a self-examination.

Vickie L. Hay’s story begins during her grade school years.

Hay was in 8th grade when one of her teachers was diagnosed with cancer.

Her teacher encouraged the students to at least be aware of what could happen. Hay learned about the early signs of breast cancer and how to give herself a self-examination.

She went home, and told her mother about it. That day, her mother found a lump in her own breast.

There had been a history of breast cancer in the family on her mother’s side.

Hay stated when she was just a little girl she can remember her aunt having to undergo cobalt treatments before passing away. Hay’s father passed away just a few months later.

After losing those two family members, Hay was fearful she would lose her mother too. Her worst fear came true; her mother passed away after fighting a long battle with cancer.

“I was so scared because the doctors gave her only three years to live,” Hay said. “She accepted it, and I’ve always admired her for that.”

At the age of 17, Hay’s doctor informed her that her breasts had multiple knots, but the doctor felt like they just needed a close eye on it and it was too soon to act on it.

Hay graduated high school and married. Shortly after her son was born, Hay felt a lump in her breast and went back to the doctor.

“I remember praying to God to just let me see my son grow up,” Hay said. “That’s all I wanted. In some ways I wasn’t concerned about me. I was concerned about my family.”

Back in those days, the medical procedures weren’t anything like they are today. Hay lost so much blood from the procedure she had to have a transfusion.

“It never worried me about losing my breasts,” Hay said. “I just was so focused on my family and my faith—that’s what got me through it.”

After the procedure, Hay had to wait to wait three days for the doctors to figure out if she would live or die. The doctors delivered the news: there was no sign of any cancer cells at that point.

She did not have to go through chemotherapy or radiation. From that point on, Hay made an appointment to get herself checked at least once a year.

“I feel like getting checked is the only way way of getting ahead of cancer,” Hay said. “You have to be one step ahead of it.” Hay encourages everyone, including her son, to get checked at least once a year. Men can develop breast cancer as well, especially in families with a history of it.

“If it’s one thing I’ve learned, cancer does not wait on anyone,” Hay said.

Years later, the cancer came back. Her journey wasn’t over. The doctors didn’t want to take another chance, so she had another procedure done.

“They have scanned every part of me, and so far I am finally cancer free,” Hay said. “God answered my biggest prayer of all: he let me see my son grow up and start a family.”