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Hope Star - Hope, AR
  • 'Grammie' a fighter, survivor

  • Sumner McLain's mother, Dana Gilbert, has battled breast cancer since she found a lump in February of this year.
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  • Sumner McLain's mother, Dana Gilbert, has battled breast cancer since she found a lump in February of this year. McLain lives in Hope and is the music director for Word of Grace Assembly of God Church in Hope. Gilbert lives near Bryant and visits her son, daughter-in-law and their two children as often as she can. McLain stays in touch with his family very closely and has been asking for prayer in the church. Gilbert says she can't wait to get back to health so she can play “grammie” again. McLain is married to Aftan and they have two children, Harrison and Madeline, whom Gilbert is “grammie” to. Gilbert found a lump via a self-exam near the end of February of this year. She was scheduled for a yearly checkup the next week, so she decided to schedule her mammogram at that time. “I went to my gynecologist and he sent me to get a diagnostic mammogram,” she said. “I also got an ultrasound at the same time. The mammogram technician showed my films to the radiologist. My mass would not show up on the mammogram, but I could feel it.” That required further testing. “I was sent to a breast specialist at that point and she did a physical exam,” Gilbert said. “They proceeded to do an open biopsy, as opposed to a needle biopsy on Thursday. I was supposed to hear back from the doctor on Friday or Monday, but I waited all day Monday, and the call didn't come. About 7:30 p. m. Monday evening, she called and told me I did have cancer.” Gilbert learned that the cancer was aggressive. “I went to her office on Wednesday and found out that I had invasive Stage 3 cancer,” she said. “I had lobular carcinoma, and she told me that I would have to have a double mastectomy because it was such an aggressive cancer. “One week later, on March 28, I had surgery,” Gilbert said. “I had six rounds of chemotherapy every three weeks and I begin radiation treatment next week everyday for six weeks.” She turned to her faith for strength, she said. “My faith has gotten me through this,” Gilbert said. “I have had so much support from God, my family, and my church family. Sometimes it feels like it's not me going through this. “I don't feel like 'poor me,'” she said. “It really hasn't been that bad. I go to the oncologist office and see so many people who look really, really sick.” Attitude is a key component to recovery, she said. “The best thing that has helped me is to keep a positive attitude,” Gilbert said. “Have I cried? Oh, yes, I've cried but I can't let it get to me. You just appreciate life and the little things in life more. Your vanity kind of flies out the window when you have no hair and no breasts. My 16-year old son has handled this very well. He always asks me if I'm ok or if I need anything. “I'll be glad to get over this so I can pick up my “grammie” duties again,” she said. “I love my family and they love me and they have been there every step of the way. I love and appreciate all of the support I've been shown, not only by family, but by friends, too.”

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