By Savanah Bandy
Yvonne Ketcher is a four-time breast cancer survivor who, despite the fact that her cancer journey will probably never truly be over, continues to live her life with positivity and grace.
She beat cancer for the second time in 2000 and thought that was finally the end of it, but in 2017, her battle began again.
“I found what felt like mosquito bites under my left breast and had to have a mastectomy. Then in May 2020, I found a lump on the right side by my breast, and it was removed followed by 33 radiation treatments on the right.”
Yvonne still wasn’t out of the woods. A few months later, she noticed several pink lacy looking places flare up on her skin between the breasts. Her dermatologist biopsied her skin and found that it was cancer. This time, Yvonne had to go through 37 radiation treatments.
To this day, she still must get an MRI every three to four months to detect if her cancer has returned.
“I live under a storm cloud every day that it could come back,” she said.
In order to find the strength to keep going, Yvonne told herself something she always told her kids when they were growing up.
“Acceptance is a big word. Whatever happens in life — good or bad — once you learn to accept it, you can move on with your life and make the adjustments or do whatever you have to do. In my opinion, you cannot move on with your life until you do accept it.”
For Yvonne, part of that acceptance and making the best of her new normal is shopping at the Pink Door Boutique.
“In June of 2020, when the knot on the right side of my right breast was removed, the small implant was removed, leaving me flat on the right side. However, the implant on the left breast was not removed, so I am very lopsided. I went to Walmart and bought some falsies and cheap bras, but thought I looked lopsided and weird.”
So, she made an appointment at the Pink Door Boutique.
“I met Lisa Nelson, who was amazing. I did not know what to expect. She put me at ease right from the start. I was pleasantly surprised and relieved as we went through the various stages of my appointment. This lady is amazing and so professional. When I left after my appointment, I was a happy camper. I now look even in my chest, and the bras are amazing. The bras with gel implants are heavy but I don’t feel that when I have them on. The services the Pink Door Boutique provide are needed and necessary to people like me who almost gave up.”
In truth, Yvonne doesn’t know the meaning of “give up.”
Her first breast cancer scare was almost 50 years ago — in 1973. She had a lumpectomy on her left breast at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, which turned out to be benign.
In May 1999, Yvonne and her husband Kent moved back to their hometown of Miami, Oklahoma. In 2000, she had another lumpectomy on her left breast at Freeman Hospital, followed by 33 radiation treatments.
Looking back on her life, Yvonne doesn’t focus on those difficult times, but on her greatest blessings.
“The Good Lord blessed me with a lot of wonderful people in my life,” she said. “My husband and I were married 53 years when he died August 27, 2013, of a brain bleed. He was mayor of Miami at the time. My two grown children – Kenda, 60 years of age, and Tim, 56 years of age, are so great. Friends are very important to me. The person I am today is because of the people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had.”