LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In 2012, Patricia Bryant lost her 39-year-old son to stage four cancer behind his breastbone. Seeing his health decline throughout the year helped her make a life changing decision.
"I came back after he passed and that's why I wanted to get a complete physical when I returned to work," Bryant said.
Bryant scheduled her mammogram and two days later she was called in for a follow up to discuss some abnormal findings.
"It can't happen to me; I talk about it every day. I went back and had the second opinion follow up. Also, I had a biopsy and it was confirmed that I did have malignant cells," Bryant said.
Three months after losing her son she was facing cancer again but this time it was her own battle with the disease.
"I was just devastated," Bryant said.
For the past five years, mammograms, annuals, and follow ups are something the Memorial employee has talked to women about every day. Never did she imagine she would be scheduling her own follow ups.
"I had to have several more biopsies before they did the surgery," Bryant said. "I went in and had a bilateral surgery and the cells were removed. They were able to go within the perimeters and remove it all, so I did not have to have any chemo, radiation, or any type of therapy. However, I do have my follow ups."
Those important follow ups are a constant reminder for her every day at work.
"I recommend and suggest to every female to go and have their annual checkups because you never know," Bryant said. "I had never been sick, never had any problems and all I can say is it happened to me; it can happen to anyone."
The Lufkin woman has survived the death of her husband, son and the battle with breast cancer. She said this gives her the opportunity to share her story with others.
"Sometimes I get the answer I don't want to come back in for a follow up. At that point I give encouraging words and I share part of my story to kind of encourage them, and so far it helps," Bryant said.
Bryant said everyday she is thankful for her physician that urged her to have her biopsy done immediately. Less than a year after being diagnosed with breast cancer she said life is back on track.