• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Cancer Survivor Finds Strength in Community

February 12, 2017

breast cancer patient carol at the Donna5K

My breast cancer journey started on April Fool’s Day — April  1, 2011. Only it wasn’t a joke.

Editor’s Note: Carol Phillips is an IT analyst/programmer at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. . She shares her experience and why she travels to Florida to support the annual 26.2 with DONNA Marathon .

My routine yearly mammogram came back abnormal. And at age 50, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. I don’t remember much about my first appointment with the doctor. It was all a blur. The only thing I do remember was the doctor saying, “Mayo Clinic will get you through this process. We’ll work together as a team. You are truly in good hands.” As I walked out to the parking lot, though, I thought I had just been given a death sentence — and I wasn’t ready.

I dreaded telling my parents that I had cancer. My mom had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma 6 years before and was losing her battle at that time. But I drove home to North Dakota that weekend to tell them. I wanted to reassure them that I was going to be OK. I held my mother’s hand and told her the doctors found the cancer early, that I was given a 98 percent chance of survival. “I am going to be ok,” I said. Read the rest of Carol's story.

This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.