Local survivor still dealing with after effects of breast cancer treatment – Anniston Star

Posted: October 27, 2021 at 1:48 am

Lanita Bennett is a local breast cancer survivor. Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star

Lanita Price Bennett believes in doing everything she can to prevent bad health issues.

I have taken every vaccine available; you name it Ive taken it, explained Bennett. Ive gotten my yearly mammogram for 40 years.

In 2020, her yearly mammogram was scheduled for May 10, but it had to be rescheduled to later that June.

In early July, the doctor said Bennett needed a repeat mammogram and a sonogram because something had shown up. She got a biopsy in mid-July and went back to get the results in late July.

My husband, Stan, and I would regularly deliver meals for Meals on Wheels, and we thought wed go in that morning for the appointment and head on to our route, Bennett said.

The doctor told Bennett she had a very aggressive triple-negative invasive ductal carcinoma. With the surge of COVID-19 at the time, her doctor was not certain how long surgery would be an option, but he did have an opening at 6 a.m. the next morning. Bennett decided to get her surgery then.

Because of COVID restrictions, my husband couldnt come in with me. He has been by my side for 41 years, so him not being allowed to come in was tough, said Bennett.

Dr. Michael Hall performed the surgery, and Bennett was home later the same day. At a follow-up appointment, Dr. Hall referred her to Dr. Aasim Sehbai, who told Bennett that hormone treatments were not going to work because of her type of cancer.

Bennett received chemotherapy treatments on Sept. 1, Sept. 21, Oct. 13 and Nov. 3 of 2020.

She was informed that her surgery increased her rate of survival by 75 percent and receiving chemotherapy increased her rate of survival by 15 percent.

I lost my hair shortly after the first treatment, and I had some taste issues. Water didnt even taste right, and I had some fatigue, Bennett said.

In mid-January of 2021, Bennett had what she assumed was an allergy. A chest x-ray and a scan of her lungs revealed she had pneumonia caused by the chemotherapy.

Dr. Raul Magadia informed her that the good news was she had the immune system of a 20-year-old.

Unfortunately, the bad news was that since it wasnt related to my immune system, there is not much the doctors could do, Bennett said. Antibiotics every day can cause resistance, as well as lung and kidney damage.

Bennett has a prescription for an antibiotic, and she typically makes it about 12 or 14 days before experiencing shortness of breath.

It isnt painful, just aggravating. There is no surgery that will correct it, Bennett said.

Bennett is looking into getting a percussion vest like some COVID or cystic fibrosis patients use.

Even after cancer and while dealing with pneumonia, Bennett never stays in bed all day.

I get out of bed and get dressed everyday. We just are not doing Meals on Wheels because I cannot risk exposure, she said.

The Bennetts regularly provide meals for St. Michaels clinic in Anniston, where Lanitas niece is a physicians assistant. They also regularly provide meals for the RMC COVID unit meal train.

I would go crazy if I just sat here. I just feel so fortunate that they caught it early. We dont have to go to Birmingham. We have a fantastic hospital right here, Bennett concluded.

Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at faith.h.dorn@gmail.com.

Local survivor still dealing with after effects of breast cancer treatment - Anniston Star

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