Wanda White NeeBreast Cancer Survivor Stories
Wanda White Nee has been at Lee Health for seven years and is a Breast Cancer Survivor! She is sharing her story to help inspire others and to make sure that no one fights alone!
As a healthy and active mother of two boys, Wanda White Nee never expected the news that awaited her after an alarming self breast exam. On May 2, 2014, imaging and a biopsy confirmed her worst fears, Wanda had breast cancer.
“Telling my boys was the hardest thing I have ever had to do,” Wanda said. “Being diagnosed with breast cancer changed the course of our summer that year, we were planning to go back to Illinois for a visit with my sons’ childhood friends. Their disappointment was worse than the reality of the battle ahead, but I knew I would WIN the battle with the fantastic support of my family, physicians, and nurses.”
Wanda’s official diagnosis was stage two infiltrating lobular carcinoma in situ, ER+/PR+. Her treatment consisted of surgery and chemotherapy. In May, Wanda underwent a bilateral mastectomy before starting chemotherapy in June, that she completed on Sept. 21, 2014. In December, her port was removed, and soon after Wanda rang the bell in 2015 declaring herself cancer free and a strong, healthy survivor.
“When you’re staring your mortality in the face, you really let go of the little annoyances in life,” Wanda said. “Live life to the fullest because you never know what’s around the corner. After completing the “kick cancer out of my life” medical treatments, I went back to school and earned an MBA by December 2016. I am now in a PhD course of study with the goal of becoming a Physical Therapy Professor as my next journey in life.”
As a single mother battling cancer, the support she received from family and friends was vital in her fight towards survivorship. Her network of supporters worked tirelessly to help Wanda during the fight for her life.
Wanda’s two sisters were dedicated to seeing her through all the way to the end of her battle. One sister, who lives locally, stayed with her during the weeks of chemo, caring for her as she dealt with the difficult effects of the harsh treatment that left her exhausted and extremely nauseous. When her sister had to leave town for a few weeks, her other sister travelled across the country from California to care for her. Between chemo treatments, her sons, who were nine and 14 at the time of her battle against breast cancer, would stay with her and help care for her as well. With the help and understanding of her landlord and other creditors, she was able to focus solely on her healing and her children, rather than her finances during her battle.
“Just having people there was the biggest form of support,” Wanda said. “It was reassuring to have the help with the day to day things like getting my sons to summer camp and picking up groceries and taking me to and from appointments.”
The fight against breast cancer is a long and tumultuous road, and no one knows that more than a survivor, like Wanda. As Breast Cancer Awareness Month continues, Wanda has not only shared her inspiring story, but she has shared words of advice for those who are currently going through their own breast cancer battle.
“Educate yourself, ask questions, and most importantly, give yourself time to heal,” Wanda said. “As a Physical Therapist, this is somewhat my mantra. We expect to heal quickly, but our bodies have to negotiate through the healing process which takes time especially with the surgical, chemotherapy, and radiation hits it will be taking. Although we cannot see the healing or evidence of the disease, like a broken bone in a cast, the healing process continues. Give yourself permission to heal.”
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