Pam McKelvy finishes chemotherapy in her battle with breast cancer | News
MEMPHIS, TN- (WMC-TV) – The journey continues for one of our own, and it is good news for Pam McKelvy. She is finished with chemotherapy.
And at a time when breast cancer is at the forefront because of Angelina Jolie, Pam updates her own story.
She went public with her battle with breast cancer last February, after a double mastectomy, because there are thousands of women in the Mid-South who share the struggle.
Pam's hope is that her story can inspire those women, and convince others to get tested.
Dr. Michael Magee is a breast cancer specialist over clinical trials at the Boston-Baskin Cancer Foundation in Germantown and Southaven. He recommended four rounds of chemotherapy for Pam.
Chemo is a cocktail of two or more drugs. For Pam, they were Taxotere and Cytoxan. Without chemo, Pam's risk factor was above 80%.
"Add the fact that she was very proactive in getting her treatment so early, her chance of relapse is five percent or less in my opinion," Dr. Magee said.
The American Cancer Society says 1 in 9 million women will likely develop breast cancer. A mammogram by age forty is still the best preventive medicine for detecting a tumor early.
"I personally think you should get them at 35 if it's in your family, but definitely by age 40," Pam said. "Even though it's uncomfortable, I know it is, if it were men and prostate cancer they would have come up with a better machine."
The pain from the machine is necessary for doctors to get a good look through what can be dense tissue in many women. What they're looking for is important.
"A part of my mission at Action News Five is to encourage other women to not be afraid of getting a mammogram," Pam explained. "Back In February, my first person to encourage was our own Ursula Madden, who admitted to me during our interview that she had not had a mammogram."
Ursula has since had her mammogram and plans to have them annually.
Pam's annual mammogram saved her life. It lead to a biopsy of her left breast and a double mastectomy to remove the cancer.
Pam said getting through chemo was challenging. She suffered from extreme fatigue, bone pain and lost her hair. But through it all, her faith kept her strong.
"I still feel very fortunate and blessed and I know that my faith and fortitude have kept me," she said.
Pam said a large part of her healing came from a surprising source – being able to share her experience honestly and openly with all of her friends on Facebook, where she first showed her bald head.
"It makes me so reflective about life and the value of life and what's important, how I treat people, how I live," she said. "Those things you can't take with you when you leave the earth. Those kind of things that leave a lasting impression."
Pam said Facebook was really her therapy. She said that while it's totally selfish and for her healing, and she did it to encourage herself, it is an absolute blessing that so many others have been encouraged by it.
Pam said she will have exams every three months for the next three years, then physicals twice a year. Once she's cleared as being cancer free, she'll need an exam just once a year.
Bottom line: Get a mammogram.
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