At Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, we are constantly inspired by the brave and beautiful women that walk through our doors every day. And sometimes we find ourselves so overcome with admiration, we just can’t help but want to share their stories with everyone we can.
Recently we spoke to Molly Slater Jones, a Brookwood Baptist patient, wife, and mother of three, about her battle with breast cancer. She talks to us about the strength she never thought she had, the emotional roller coaster of her journey, and what it means to live life as a survivor.
For starters, tell us a little bit about yourself: Name/age/occupation, etc.
My name is Molly Slater Jones, and I just turned 47 on September 7th. I am a senior administrative assistant for Southern Nuclear Operating Company… Although my husband would like to consider me a housewife at this point, technically I am on long term disability—I still have a job!!
Who is your doctor, and why did you chose him/her?
Dr. Luigi Bertoli. I didn’t really choose him—it just happened that way. My entire story did. And that’s why I am so grateful.
When were you diagnosed? How did you find out you had breast cancer?
Sept 17, 2012: the day for my yearly “lady” exam with Dr. Nathan Ross. I always look forward to this because we chat about our travels, and his running. This time I was planning to discuss possibly changing my hormone replacement therapy; I was still dealing with frequent headaches. It also happened to be time for my routine mammogram.
“Yo” performed it, and I can remember her being very thorough due to my dense breast tissue. I was called back two days later for a second mammogram and ultrasound. The next day, I was called in and had a core-needle biopsy performed by my new breast surgeon, Dr. April Maddux. This was on a Friday. On Monday morning, October 1, Dr. Maddux called me at work and told me the tumor was malignant.
What constituted your treatment plan?
My team was put together: Dr Maddux would remove the tumor and perform my mastectomy, and Dr. George Duquette would perform a tram flap procedure to reconstruct the breasts from my own tissue. I would find out after the surgery if I would need chemo.
The surgery took place on October 16 and I was at the hospital 5 days (the recovery was very long because of the abdominal work). I received a call from Dr. Bertoli about a month after my surgery to discuss my cancer; he had sent it to Agendia for Mammaprint testing. We found out that my cancer was an aggressive form that would return within three years if it was not attacked right away—and hard. Because of this, it was his opinion that I should start on chemo to get it wiped away now.
I started 16 rounds of AC/T on January 10. It went all the way until May 30.
What was it like?
There are things that I went through, things my sons saw, that tear me up inside. But I know now that I am a much stronger person than I ever imagined. My marriage is stronger, too.
What was the most difficult part of your experience?
The scariest, most difficult part of my experience: every damn Thursday morning. Making myself come into Brookwood Baptist and have those sweet, loving nurses put that poison in my chemo port, knowing I’m going to go home and be so much in pain. Even though you know it has to be done, it’s so hard.
What got you through the tough days?
I didn’t think I had it in me. It was scary—and honestly, there were days that I felt like I was crawling through hell. But photography is my escape and passion; I made a point to update my Instagram weekly as I went in for chemo. I never, ever lost my desire to take a picture. I wanted it all documented. That got me through the days: a smile. Always with a smile. And life is good, and getting better each day.
You tag a lot of pictures with #ichooseb. Why did you choose Brookwood Baptist?
I choose Brookwood Baptist because I trust my doctors and nurses. : )
Your health is too important to leave to chance. Let us help you find the physician that’s right for you.