Leezette Bethea's Story
September 7, 2007 was the happiest day of my life. I married my high school sweetheart and best friend. In February of 2008, I was hired at GBMC and things were going great. I was adjusting to married life and working on a job I absolutely loved while working with a team that genuinely cared about their patients. At the time, everything in my life seemed to be falling into place. Suddenly, my life changed and things would not be the same.
I found a lump during a self breast exam. On March 9, 2010, four days after my 38th birthday, I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer of the right breast. During this time my office had just become a part of Finney Trimble Surgical Associates. I was in the right place at the right time, and Dr. Rotolo, a breast surgeon, quickly jumped in to action. He called my family in that day and told us the plan of action. Dr. Rotolo referred me to the oncology department, specifically to Dr. Robert Donegan. In between crying and trying to wrap my head around all that was happening to me, I was thankful for being a part of GBMC. Everyone I encountered during that process played an intricate role with my healing.
My co-workers especially were so very supportive. They made sure that my family was fed during each week I had chemo treatments. They each took turns cooking meals, which my family greatly appreciated. Dr. Donegan and the staff were absolutely the best. I could not have asked for a better team of people to care for me, from the infusion center nurses to the scheduling secretaries. They ALL were the best! They all helped me stay upbeat and positive and watched me beat cancer's butt! I am cancer-FREE!
It's been 5 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and since that time, I celebrated a milestone birthday. In 2012, I turned 40 years old. I started a breast cancer fundraiser with Susan G. Komen's Bowl for a Cure and I form a team every year to walk in the Hunt Valley breast cancer walk. I also volunteer in October for breast cancer awareness month at a women's clothing store in Waverly handing out breast cancer pamphlets to women about how to give self-examinations. In 2011, I was able to see my son transition from middle school to high school and become a high school graduate as of this past May. At 42 years old, I was able to do something I was always so afraid to do, which was go back to school. In 2014, I enrolled into a four-year college, majoring in Social Work at Morgan State University, and during my first semester I earned a 4.0 GPA and made the Dean's List. My ultimate goal is to obtain a Bachelor's of Science degree to become a social worker in a hospital setting to possibly help other breast cancer patients.