When Shanna Lott submitted her grandmother’s name for inclusion in a newspaper insert honoring breast cancer survivors, she did it as a surprise. She wasn’t sure her grandmother would want to share about her experience, but her grandmother said it came down to spreading awareness for other women.
Sue Hewitt, Lott’s grandmother, was diagnosed with breast cancer around a decade ago. She’d been going for yearly mammograms regularly when her doctors noticed something different.
“They called me back and said ‘we need to take a second look,’ but it turned out to be nothing.”
This happened a few times over the course of her yearly screenings. Eventually, she told her doctors she wanted to skip coming in for a follow up and would just like to focus on the yearly exams.
But one year, after a regular mammogram, something felt different, Hewitt said. This time, when her doctor called and requested a follow up, she agreed, though she wasn’t entirely sure why.
“For some reason, I said ‘OK, sure, let’s follow up.’”
Hewitt was scheduled for a biopsy, and that’s when they caught her cancer. She went through a lumpectomy and radiation and was able to take care of it quickly.
“They caught mine early,” she said.
Hewitt went through a total of 35 radiation treatments, which she said were as smooth as they could be. She did come down with an infection due to the radiation, which she said was uncomfortable, but otherwise she said the process was not too bad.
Hewitt has been cancer-free since, and now she hopes to help spread awareness about breast cancer and the importance of early detection.
During Hewitt’s treatment, she recalls a good friend who was also dealing with breast cancer. While Hewitt’s treatment was relatively quick and easy, her friend’s was not.
“She found out she had cancer and she had to have both breasts removed, radiation, chemo, everything,” Hewitt said. “Seeing her going through that, I realized how fortunate I was that they caught it early.”
Hewitt also recalls the strong support network she had around her, due in large part to her church, Honey Creek Missionary Baptist in Russiaville. Her church had a support group for women who were dealing with breast cancer themselves or who had family members affected by it.
Hewitt was especially grateful to her husband, Pleamon. He supported her through the entire process and drove her to radiation every day.
“He’s just always been there for me,” Hewitt said.
The rest of her family was also by her side, with just about everyone in her family there for her surgery.
“We have a very close family,” Hewitt said.
Lott agreed, saying she and her sisters grew up very close to their grandparents. She decided to submit Hewitt’s name for the paper as a way to celebrate Hewitt’s life and strength.
“I haven’t realized until I’ve gotten older how fortunate I really am to still have my grandparents,” Lott said.