A cancer diagnosis – Charlotte James

Image: Charlotte James was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. She is very serious about finding a cure for the disease.

Charlotte James was diagnosed with cancer in 2009. She is very serious about finding a cure for the disease. (Karen Mathiowetz)

In January of 2009, Charlotte James’s life was forever changed. That was the month that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was the month she decided to fight cancer with every ounce of her being. She was determined to do whatever it took to beat cancer. She wanted to live – she did not want to be another statistic.

Charlotte began doing Relay for Life of Central Ellis County in 2007. Her daughter, Donna Daniell was on the HEB team so Charlotte joined the team to raise funds to find a cure for cancer.

“I am glad I made the decision to help Donna with Relay for Life,” James said. “It was one of the best things I have ever done. I wanted to find a cure for cancer so other people don’t have to go through what I went through. I still want that.”

In late December of 2008, she found an indention in her left breast. She thought that was odd, so she told her daughter about it. She had a suspicion that it might be breast cancer, but she remained hopeful it wasn’t. She saw her family doctor and was referred her to Dr. Gorman.

“I asked my granddaughter to go with me for the mammogram and sonogram. I am so glad she was with me because I found out that day it was probably cancer.”

The words echoed in her head as her defense mode kicked in. She remembers being numb and just going through the motions. She was on auto pilot.

This was not the first breast cancer diagnosis in her family. Her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer over 20 years ago and her sister was diagnosed in 2008. When they were diagnosed, she had tried to understand how they felt, but she could not. Now she knew. That dreaded disease of cancer had found it’s way to her.

“I knew I had several choices,” James explained. “I could allow cancer to consume me or I could fight. I decided right then to do whatever it took to keep a positive attitude and also do whatever it took to beat the cancer.”

In January of 2009, Dr. Gorman removed her left breast and did a biopsy to confirm it was cancer. The biopsy proved it was cancer so she also received chemotherapy. She is thankful for early detection and to be in remission today.

“Several good things have come from this,” she said. “My four daughters have a mammogram every year. I found out I have an amazing, strong support system in my family and friends. I realized first hand how important the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life are. ACS sent a volunteer to see me to give me crucial information and support.

“When I was asked to share my story, I agreed immediately. I want everyone to know that there is survival after a cancer diagnosis. I want them to know that a positive attitude is so important to that survival. But must importantly, I want them to know that early detection is one of the keys to survival. Cancer does not have to win.”

Charlotte is very involved with Relay For Life of Central Ellis County. She is the Luminary Chairperson this year. She will proudly do the Survival Lap with others on May 30, 2015 at the Waxahachie Sports Complex.

The next meeting is on March 19, 2015 at the Red Oak Municipal Building at 6:30.
Anyone interested in donating, volunteering or participating is asked to attend or contact Donna Daniell at 469-337-0438 or Jessica Gentry at 214-949-9918. This could be the year that a cure is realized!