Good Neighbor: Sankey shares her story of change

Published 9:28 pm Thursday, November 6, 2014

In the summer of 2004, Doristine Sankey received a courtesy call reminding her to schedule a mammogram. She called her gynecologist’s office and made an appointment. She went for a routine pap smear and a mammogram was set up for her the next day at Troy Regional Medical Center.

“The results were called in to my doctor and he called and requested that I come back to his office,” Sankey said. “He reviewed the results of the test with me and referred me to the Montgomery Breast Center.”

At the Montgomery Breast Center, Sankey had an ultrasound and a biopsy was scheduled.

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“I kept telling myself that I was all right, that there was no need to worry,” she said. “There was no history of breast cancer in my family. But my gut feeling was that it was breast cancer. I began to pray that the Lord would give me the courage to accept whatever the results might be.”

Sankey’s husband, Charlie, was with her when she got the news that would change her life forever. She had breast cancer.

“My husband just lost it but for some reason, I didn’t,” Sankey said. “I knew God was answering my prayers. He truly gave me peace about the situation. I knew whatever God’s will was for my life would be done.”

For Sankey, the good news was that the cancer was found early. Her surgery was scheduled for September and she opted to have a lumpectomy.

While she waited to have surgery, Sankey said she read everything she could on the disease in order to better educate herself.

The day of the surgery came and I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be,” she said. “I knew God would be by my side through it all.”

The tumor was larger than the doctors had thought but they were able remove the entire tumor and obtain a clear margin.

Surgery follow-up included chemotherapy and radiation and a port was put in to take the medication.

Charlie Sankey continued to work in order to support the family while his wife took the treatments.

Her sister, Patricia Wright, became her caretaker and drove her to Montgomery every week for treatments.

The treatments caused nausea and extreme weakness but Sankey survived chemo. Radiation caused fatigue and burning of the skin but Sankey said she could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“The chemo and radiation were successful,” she said. “There were no more signs of cancer in my body.”

Sankey said she thanks God every day for her life, her family, her church family and all her wonderful friends.

“I realize that God will put certain people in your life when you need them most,” she said. “I thank my club sisters of the Troy United Women’s League. They would bring me and my family supper and community friends and neighbors did the same.

“I am so appreciative of the thoughtfulness and kindnesses to me over the years. Friends and family have helped me through the hard times but I know one thing for sure. I could not have had the outcome I had without my faith in God.”

Sankey said she cannot stress enough the importance of early detection when it comes to cancer.

“We have to be faithful with scheduling annual exams and performing at home self breast exam,” she said.

“I hope to see a cure for cancer in my lifetime. I am proud to say that I am a breast cancer survivor.”