Calhoun woman praises local cancer center for exceptional care during treatment

Dena Wright and her son, Bristol, with her oncology nurses during her last chemotherapy treatment.

Dena Wright knew something wasn’t right in February 2014. “I started noticing that my right breast just felt a little different and was itching a lot,” said Wright. “I had my yearly check up with my ob-gyn and since there was no lump or rash it was one of those ‘watch it and if anything changes let us know’ things. I had a mammogram and it came back clear so I didn’t worry too much.”

Wright, who is the wife of Greg Wright, began preparing her son, Bristol, for kindergarten later that year and carried on with life. “In October, there was thickening of the skin but still no real lump, which is what we’re taught to feel for. I was worried enough to go to my regular family doctor and she immediately sent me to Gordon Hospital for a diagnostic mammogram. I had a core needle biopsy after the mammogram and I was diagnosed with Stage 3C Ductal Carcinoma with Lymph Node Metastases on Oct. 15, 2014.”

Wright has finished the majority of her treatment.

“I had a partial mastectomy in November of 2014, four weeks of AC chemotherapy, also known as “red devil” treatments, 12 weeks of Taxol treatments, 28 radiation treatments, and 52 weeks of Herceptin treatments,” said Wright. “There is a pill I will take for 5 years called Tamoxifin.”

Nearly three years after her initial diagnosis, Wright is looking forward to the future. “My family is my passion; my husband and my little boy,” said Wright. “When we are together, it fills my heart with love and joy; I enjoy spending time with them, just hanging out and being a family.”

Wright reflects on the initial diagnosis and how shocking it can be.

“When Dr. Box told me that I had breast cancer, I immediately thought of my son,” said Wright. “And you know, you get scared: Am I going to see him grow up? Do I get to see him go to high school? All of that stuff runs through your mind. You’re kind of terrified because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know if you’re going to live through chemo.”

But Wright was blessed with Gordon Hospital and Harris Radiation Therapy Center.

“I decided just to fight with everything that I had and do everything that Dr. Turner (my oncologist) told me to do, because I was determined to win,” said Wright.

Wright recalls getting her first scan after treatment began.

“You get that first scan, and it’s clear and you get your hope built back up that you’re going to make it and you’re going to see your son grow up, and I’m going to see him graduate and I’m going to see him get married,” said Wright.

“It was just a bump in the road,” said Wright of her diagnosis and treatment. “At the time, you think it’s the end of the world but everybody with Gordon Hospital is there with you fighting; from chemo to radiation, the people in the recovery room when you come out of surgery. They are all right there and on your side.”

“My experience with Gordon Hospital has been wonderful. The doctors, the nurses, the radiation techs...everybody. They are so good at what they do. And it’s really good that it’s a faith-based hospital, because they will stop and pray with you when you’re scared. I just can’t say enough good about them. I can’t imagine going anywhere else for treatment.”

Wright cautions everyone to be proactive in cancer awareness.

“I want everyone, including men because men get breast cancer too, to know that they really need to pay attention to their own body,” said Wright. “Please actually do monthly self exams and if anything feels different, even if it’s just a gut feeling, let your doctor know. Don’t just rely on a once a year mammogram.”