By Savanah Mandeville
There’s nothing easy about fighting breast cancer.
Kimberly Clinton, Senior Deputy Court Clerk with the 29th Judicial Circuit Court, will tell you that throughout her battle with breast cancer, perhaps the most difficult thing to overcome was the waiting.
“It’s a waiting game,” she said. “You want to be told right then all the details, but you have to learn your patience and to leave all your trust into God.”
Kimberly was diagnosed April 2, 2021, at only 43 years old. Her journey began last year in September 2020 when she got her very first mammogram.
“I’d put it off for two years, but my grandmother — my mother’s mom — was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 70s, so I finally built up enough courage to make myself get my first mammogram screening at Mercy Hospital.”
After that first screening, her results showed that her doctors would need to monitor a small mass in her right breast. Six weeks later, several more masses were found.
Kimberly underwent a biopsy March 31.
“My results came back that I had ERPR+ HER2- Ductal Carcinoma breast cancer,” she said.
Her cancer was caught early, so her doctors couldn’t tell her what stage it was in. While she felt fortunate to have caught it early, hearing those words — “You have cancer” — was extremely difficult.
“I was shocked,” she said. “It didn’t register. It took probably a week before I was registering what was going on. Because I felt fine. I never thought in a million years it would happen.”
Kimberly was devastated, but she said with the help of her nurse navigator and the love and support of her husband and son, she was able to push through.
“I was assigned and blessed with the most amazing nurse navigator, Christina Leggett, as she led me and my husband on my journey, setting up doctor appointments and being there for emotional support and at every appointment along the way,” Kimberly said.
With their support, Kimberly was able to make the difficult but life-saving decision to undergo a double mastectomy June 2.
“I could’ve gone through radiation and possibly chemo at that time, so there was no other thought at that time but to get a double mastectomy,” she said.
“It’s a long process. My mom came and was with me for one month, so she did the laundry and helped my husband around the house. That was a huge blessing to have her there. And we have a big family, so I had a huge prayer chain behind me. I’d also like to thank Mercy Hospital doctors, nurses and staff. They have all been amazing through this whole process.”
As of early August 2021, Kimberly is cancer free.
“I’m still going through the reconstruction process,” she said. “I was told I did not need to have chemotherapy and/or radiation, but I have been placed on a hormone pill, Tamoxifen, for 5 years, possibly 10.”
Kimberly was able to beat breast cancer because she caught it early. For this reason, she said she would like to encourage all women to get mammograms regularly.
“Performing a self-check, I never felt a lump,” she said. “If it weren’t for the mammogram and ultrasound, I would have never known I had breast cancer.”
And to those already battling breast cancer, she offers these words of encouragement.
“Keep going. Open up, talk about it, lean on your family, your friends; you have to be strong, have faith and, most importantly, leave it all to God. It’s up to Him for sure, but you’ve got to find that inner strength, the woman power we have.”