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Dancing With the Red Devil

Dancing With the Red Devil

A cancer diagnosis comes as a shock to most patients, as it did for Anntonette Thompson. After five months of chemotherapy, she’s cancer free.

Published Aug 28th, 2018

You might imagine the panic and fear when a doctor told Anntonette Thompson that she had an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer, known as triple negative breast cancer. Nobody in her immediate family had ever dealt with the disease, so she was unfamiliar with the trials that cancer patients go through—trials she would soon face herself.

Fighting through the shock, she sought recommendations from friends and family for a treatment center. Some said she needed to see a specialist in Houston. Others suggested the Cancer Center of America in Atlanta. Finally, a member of her church pointed her toward Mitchell Cancer Institute (MCI) and ultimately to recovery.

“I knew I made the right choice with Mitchell Cancer Institute on day one,” Anntonette says. “ I was so scared. My husband was out of town, and my son was away at college. I was all by myself. As I signed in for my appointment, tears started rolling down my face. The receptionist grabbed my hand and let me know that it was going to be okay. That is a moment of human generosity that I will not forget as long as I live.”

At the start of her treatment, Dr. Daniel Cameron and a team of nurses patiently and thoroughly conducted numerous tests to make sure the initial diagnosis was accurate. Dr. Cameron strongly recommended genetic testing as well, for the sake of Anntonette's daughter. When these ultimately came back negative, Dr. Cameron personally called Anntonette to let her know that her daughter was not in danger of triple negative breast cancer because of a wayward gene.

The staff at MCI assured Anntonette they would do their best to make her journey as smooth as possible and that they would be available any time she needed to reach out to them.

“They stood by every promise,” she adds. “The atmosphere and staff was just awesome. It gave me hope that they truly cared about my recovery.”

And Anntonette needed hope as she endured the chemo sessions, the worst of which was conducted with an antitumor antibiotic called doxurubicin, also known as the red devil.

“Those were tough,” she recalls. “There was a period that I couldn’t even be around anybody.”

Anntonette dreaded each chemo session. Anti-nausea medicine didn't always quell the nausea. She felt much older than her 52 years. The days turned to months, but seemed like eternity. Slowly and aided with the compassion and support of Dr. Cameron and team, the cancer began to recede from her body.

“I give God all the glory on this one,” Anntonette says.

Five months after that first day when uncontrollable tears ran down her face, Anntonette walked out of the Mitchell Cancer Institute cancer free.

“You have to be ready to fight,” she declares. “I was armed with all this information provided to me by the doctors and nurses, but when I thought about my husband and my children and all my family, I knew it would be up to me and God to see this thing through to the other side.”

Anntonette is living proof that a human being can sometimes dance with the red devil and still come out better for it. She uses her experience to help and encourage others going through the same experience. She started a cancer ministry and speaks at churches and hospitals whenever she has the chance.

“I’m paying it forward—trying to do for others what has been done for me. If there’s someone who needs to talk about their battle with cancer, I’ll talk. If someone needs to call, I’ll answer.”

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