Mammograms were routine for Gladys Hart. Every year, she presented herself to Harris Health Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital for the exam. In 2005, her doctor asked if she also did breast self-exams. “Yes,” she replied, “but everywhere I feel, I find a lump.” One of the lumps was suspicious; a biopsy confirmed a malignancy.
“I heard the C word and thought death. But God took over my mind and heart and let me know He was in control. I was at peace.”
After a lumpectomy on her left breast, a follow-up exam indicated a second surgery was necessary. “I chose to have a mastectomy. I was fine with that. I offered to give my right breast too, but they didn’t want it. I surprised myself — I felt that surgery was just a process. I’m too scared for that to be me. It had to be God.
“People asked me, ‘If you’re so sure you’re going to be healed, why have surgery?’ I told them, ‘I’m not stupid, I have to do my part.’”
Gladys didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation. She took the drug Arimidex for five years. It’s been eight years since her diagnosis, and she’s cancer free.
Overcoming hardship is a family affair in the Hart household. While she was dealing with cancer, her husband was in a rehabilitation hospital with a spinal cord injury. He had been hit by a drunk driver and was told he’d never walk again. When he was released from the hospital, she cared for both of them. A young church friend, a nurse, helped.
Mr. Hart is as resilient as Gladys. Today, he is walking.
“I’ve learned that in every bad situation, some good will come from it,” Gladys says. “Cancer helped me bless and affirm other patients.”
When asked to become a Pink PEN, a Personal Experience Navigator who shares hope with other patients, at Harris Health LBJ, Gladys jumped at the chance. After a year in the role, she says, “I love it. Some of the patients are so fearful, they need someone to listen to them. It’s a gift to give to other people.
“I tell everyone that the doctors and nurses at LBJ took good care of me. I recommend them highly. Now that I’m on Medicare, I can go anywhere I want for my healthcare. I choose Harris Health Settegast and LBJ. I thank God for them.”