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What Victory Looks Like

For Ruby, victory means treasuring what's important.

Ruby Thornton’s victory over breast cancer gave her a new perspective on life and the wisdom to not take anything for granted. For her, victory is being able to continue to do all the things she has always loved. Only now, she treasures those things even more.

Because of several different health issues throughout her life, Ruby made breast self-examinations and annual mammograms a priority. Her commitment to performing routine exams helped provide a strong understanding of what was normal for her body. So, when she discovered an unusual knot, she knew to seek immediate medical attention.

The journey begins

Her doctor called her with the life-altering news that she had breast cancer. Understanding the potential for devastation, Ruby knew that to fight her fight she had to keep her spirits high and surround herself with systems of support. For her, support came immediately via her faith and family. But Ruby soon learned of another rock on which to lay the foundation of her fight — her doctors.

“When I heard the news, I didn’t cry,” Ruby said. “I thought I would cry hysterically, but I turned to my faith to put myself at ease, and it helped me get through the toughest of times.”

As Ruby began her treatment process, she quickly realized she had another support system in her team of physicians, including the Longstreet Clinic Cancer Center team and Dr. Geoffrey Weidner with the Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Radiation Oncology team.

“All of my doctors were so good to me. When I was lost and didn’t know what to expect, Dr. Lahiry and Dr. Strom always went the extra mile to put me at ease,” Ruby said, referring to Dr. Anup Lahiry, a medical oncologist with Longstreet Clinic Cancer Center, and Dr. Priscilla Strom, a general surgeon and breast specialist at Longstreet Clinic. “They treated like more than one of their patients. They treated me like family, and I thank the Lord for them.”

Even though Ruby enjoyed the good fortune of maintaining a fairly normal lifestyle throughout her chemotherapy treatments, ringing the victory bell was one of her proudest moments.

“It’s that moment when you truly realize you have been given a new beginning, and you get to decide what victory will look like for you,” Ruby said.

 

Meet Her Team Dr. Strom Dr. Strom Dr. Lahiry Dr. Lahiry
“All of my doctors were so good to me. When I was lost and didn’t know what to expect, Dr. Lahiry and Dr. Strom always went the extra mile to put me at ease. They treated like more than one of their patients. They treated me like family, and I thank the Lord for them.”

Bringing a smile to someone’s face every day tops the list when asked to define what victory means to her. And for Ruby that means loving on her three grandchildren, cooking meals for her family and friends or spending time with others who are fighting their own cancer battles.

Although her grandsons are in middle and high school and often prefer hanging out with friends over grandma, Ruby makes family time a priority by taking them to catch the latest movie, going shopping and playing games at home.

Ruby also makes it a priority to spend time with those struggling with their own cancer diagnosis. She takes pride in bringing comfort to her friends and family with regular calls, visits and homemade meals. Her love of cooking began as a young child, and now she enjoys translating that love into serving others. When words of gratitude can often be hard to come by, the smiles and sense of hope she sees on others faces during trying times are all Ruby needs to keep cooking and serving.

Now that she’s cancer free, Ruby is planning to take a family trip to Myrtle Beach next summer.

“I love the beach. It’s one of my favorite places. There’s nothing like being barefoot in the sand.”

“I was given a second chance at life,” Ruby said. “I truly believe the level of care and the incredible support I had throughout my fight led me to victory. And, now it is my duty to make the most my victory by paying it forward with love and support for others in need.”

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