Dora Francis, a Brunswick mother of two, was 36 years old in the summer
of 2012 when she first discovered the lump in her right breast. She was
putting her 14-month old son to bed and inadvertently brushed her hand
against her right breast when she felt it. The next day she made an appointment
with her gynecologist to get it checked. Within a few weeks, she had been
diagnosed with breast cancer.
A positive attitude, the support of family and friends, and the wonderful
physicians and staff at the Southeast Georgia Health System Cancer Care
Center helped her get her through. "My motto is to be proactive,"
she says. "I told people that I was diagnosed with cancer and I was
going through a process, but I didn't claim cancer."
Dora first had to go through five courses of chemotherapy, medically overseen
by Antonio Moran Jr., M.D. of Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Hematology
& Oncology. She then had a mastectomy performed by Stephen Barrett,
M.D., of Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Glynn General & Vascular
Surgery with partial reconstruction during the same surgery performed
by plastic surgeon Bradley Easterlin, M.D. About six weeks after her surgery,
she resumed chemotherapy treatments.
Dora appreciated everyone she came in contact with at the Cancer Care Center.
"Everybody was so encouraging. They knew what they were doing. And
if I asked a question that they didn't know the answer to, they would
call the doctor right away to find out. I loved everybody that I dealt
She also appreciated the support of the Health System's Breast Care
Center patient navigator Donna Perkins, R.N., CBPN-IC. "Donna was
great. We mainly spoke via phone, but I did get to meet her the day I
had my biopsy, Dora says. "She gives you the information you need
and puts you in touch with all the right people. She is really on it."
Dora had her last chemotherapy treatment in May 2013 and learned she was
cancer-free on June 25, 2013, when the results of her PET scan came back
negative. "I had my sister and my daughter with me at Dr. Moran's
office when I learned I was cancer-free, and we all cried, but they were
happy tears," she says. And when they were all hugging and crying,
Dr. Moran's physician assistant Rebecca Irwin said to Dora's daughter,
"Your Mommy is well now. It's over!"