A Survivor's Story: Carol Smith

October 26, 2010 

  • In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette will be featuring the first-person story of a breast cancer survivor each Tuesday during October.

This week, part-time Lady's Island resident Carol Smith tells her story.

I was first diagnosed with cancer in September of last year. I found out through a mammogram. Dr. Stephen Sisco (of Beaufort Memorial Surgical Specialists) asked for several tests beyond that to be done. They found two places of cancer. Very small. After a whole bunch of tests, Dr. Sisco decided it could be taken care of through lumpectomy and radiation. In late October, a year ago, I had a lumpectomy and then the radiation. And that cleared it up. I was very lucky.

I was a pilot for 31 years and flew my family and myself all around. When you're a pilot, you deal with problems one by one by one. I'm very pragmatic. There's been great strides in the treatment of cancer since my mother's day. My mother died of breast cancer, so I knew I could get it. She died in her 90s when she got breast cancer, so I wasn't particularly unnerved by it. It was always in the back of my mind. But it wasn't like the sword of Damocles over my head.

I didn't feel at all anxious when I was diagnosed. It's just another problem that needs to be solved. Then you can move on. My home is really ... in the Virgin Islands, but I stay in Beaufort and keep coming back for the medical decision. I was lucky. I'm thankful for having the people I did at the Beaufort Memorial Keyserling Cancer Center. We caught the problem, and we solved it.

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