Phyllis Little of Okahumpka, Florida was lying in bed conducting a self-exam when she felt a lump in her breast.
“I'm the kind of person that I'm forever looking at my body and I always do self-exams to my breasts to feel around and make sure everything is ok,” said Little, who immediately called her doctor upon her discovery.
After an ultrasound and biopsy, Little was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer which means the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes.
“All kind of things go through your mind,” said Little. “Especially at night, early in the morning when you're talking to Jesus and you're just saying, I don't know if I'm going to make it, but he puts a little something in your brain and you're like, I'm going to make it, I'm going to beat this.”
Little says she relied on comfort and support from family, friends and, especially, her pastor at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church.
The AdventHealth Waterman Cancer Center team’s plan was for Little to undergo a lumpectomy to remove the tumor followed by chemotherapy. Radiation oncologist Anudh Jain, MD then oversaw her radiation therapy.
“The radiation dosages and volumes can vary tremendously among patients,” explains Dr. Jain. “We work along with our other physicians, other surgical specialists, medical oncologists to come up with the best treatment plan for that patient. When the radiation plan is designed, we actually tailor that radiation dosage and target to their particular anatomy, their particular tumor to create the customized radiation plan for their situation.”
“The nurses, the doctors, at Waterman, I love all of them,” said Little. “And it's just a good atmosphere to be in when you're going through something like this. I'm very grateful that I had them all, because it takes a village. That's what it is, my village,” said Little.
Little finished radiation therapy in December 2018. At the end of treatment, survivors ring a bell to signify the end of their cancer journey and the beginning of a cancer-free life.
“I loved ringing that bell. It was a wonderful feeling. You can’t do anything but cry tears of joy,” Little said.
To learn more about how AdventHealth Waterman supports your whole health on your cancer journey, visit our website.