Nothing keeps 83-year-old Bonita White down. The retired microbiologist teaches Sunday school – to 3- and 4-year-olds, no less. She drives her grandchildren to and from school, and she makes friends wherever she goes. Nothing keeps her down – not even cancer.
“I always had normal mammograms, but not this time,” Bonita said. “I was in New York when I got the call. Something looked a bit suspicious and I needed to repeat the exam.”
Two days later, the second mammogram was compete, but findings were inconclusive. She was advised to have a third mammogram in six months. The findings this time showed that something had changed. This is when the swift and incredibly well-coordinated diagnosis and treatment plan began. A biopsy ensued immediately.
Dr. Karuna Vangala, Bonita’s primary care physician at WellMed at Cedar Hill in Dallas, shared the unfortunate news: the tumor was cancer. “Even though Dr. Vangala thought the tumor was very small, I was still upset at first,” Bonita said. “But I knew I had lots of friends, family and Bible study friends who would be there to pray for me and support me. Most importantly, I knew God would be with me on this journey.”
Bonita says her faith played a big part in providing her with the strength she needed. “I prayed that I would remain calm and have a positive attitude,” she said.
Also ready to support her was someone she had never met – Dr. Deepti Kallam with USMD Oncology. She was on vacation but returned early after she heard about Bonita. “It was important to me that I saw this patient as quickly as possible,” Dr. Kallam said. “So I paused my vacation and was able to see Mrs. White within 12 hours. We discussed her biopsy results and a treatment plan. After our discussion, Mrs. White was ready, willing and able to have surgery.”
A few days later, she was in a consultation with Dr. Kory Jones, breast surgeon at USMD Arlington South General Surgery Clinic. One week later, her surgery was complete. “There were no complications and Dr. Jones told me she got everything and I am cancer-free,” Bonita said.
Radiation treatments are the next step. “Some days I’m not as energetic and my skin is very tender,” Bonita said. “I’ve tried to slow down some, and my life has changed a bit, but I always strive for it to be as positive it can be,” she said. “I’ve formed a special bond with three other women who are also going through radiation.”
Bonita says she is most grateful for the care she received from all of the providers at WellMed and USMD. “They took care of all of the coordination of my appointments, and they took great care of me,” she said.
“I have always felt like the employees at my clinic are family, because that’s how they treat me. When they open that door it’s beyond saying hello; they welcome me in, and we have some great conversations.”
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