In an instant, shock and disbelief were the emotions that hit Carolyn Kelso-Smith when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Carolyn’s initial mammogram didn’t even detect the lump. On her own, Carolyn located the mass and immediately scheduled a 2nd mammogram.  A second visit would confirm her fears: breast cancer. Looking back, Carolyn remembers the questions that swirled around in her mind.

“Why is this happening to me?”

As a home health caregiver, she was aware of the importance of taking care of one’s health.  At first, when she realized her own health was in danger, she went into blame mode.  She blamed others.  She blamed God.  “Why is this happening to me?” “What did I do wrong?”  

The Financial Blow of Breast Cancer

With nothing left to do but fight, Carolyn began fighting the breast cancer with radiation treatments.  Immediately, she sought the support of Cancer Services of Gaston County.  Not only was the diagnosis an emotional blow, but a financial one. Unfortunately, the medication for her breast cancer treatments alone cost $400 a month.  Cancer Services eased the blow of the diagnosis by paying her medication copays for one year.  

A Call to Action against Carcinoma

After seeing her mother’s struggle, Carolyn’s daughter got a mammogram as a baseline measure to ensure she was breast cancer free.  Carolyn used her own struggle to equip others to take charge of their own health.  Above all, as a 13-year survivor, Carolyn has found this truth: “you can have all the money in the world,” but you’ve “got to care for your health.”  This is exactly what Carolyn has done.

Life Looks Different after Breast Cancer

In her spare time, Carolyn enjoys creative activities.  She loves to craft and make wreaths.  A caregiver at her core, she loves to find ways to help others through her crafts.  In her spare time, she watches classic t.v. shows.  Also, Carolyn reads magazines for fun.  All of these activities are things she looks at a little more sweetly through the lens of her diagnosis.  Breast cancer makes someone “look at life differently. It’s better!” 

Finding Strength and Support

Through the aid of Cancer Services, Carolyn says she is able to “stay positive.”  With a smile, Carolyn charges cancer patients to “keep faith.” With the emotional and financial support of Cancer Services that Carolyn was able to find the “strength” and “support” she needed to help her win.