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Arlene Smith

In November last year, when Arlene Smith felt a cyst in her left breast, it scared her. She was too scared to go to the doctor. That didn’t change until February 2018.

“When I got myself together, was brave enough, I went to LBJ’s emergency room. They did a mammogram and a biopsy, then I went home,” she says.

The staff at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital a doctor’s appointment and scheduled a CT scan. She felt instant rapport with her doctor, “a beautiful young man who is outgoing and generous, a people person. He explained everything.”

All her treatment was completed at LBJ. She started chemotherapy soon after the cancer diagnosis. “My care was beautiful. All the people who cared for me were beautiful. LBJ is a great hospital.

“I feel sure my next scan will be clean.” That will be a success she shares with friends and family who have taken special care of her. Her 13-year-old granddaughter, who lives with her, has been especially supportive. Arlene’s friend Samuel has been with her from day one. Her dad and siblings have been wonderful.

Arlene is a woman on the go, so there’s really no space in her life for cancer. “I’ve had no sickness, no side effects. I cook. I clean. I take my granddaughter to school. I’ve been on a family cruise. I’m living everyday life.”

She has, however, made a few changes. She eats more vegetables, fasts alcohol and avoids negativity. “If you’re not positive, you’re not in my life. Cancer is how God got my attention. I decided I would live like God wants me to live, and that’s being positive.

“All my life, I cared for others first and myself last. Now, it’s about me.” When Arlene says she took care of others, she means it. For 34 years, she taught adaptive behavior classes in the Aldine school district. Now she’s ready to enjoy friends and family.

She has a word of caution for women who are tempted to put off a check-up as she did. “Get to the doctor as soon as you see or feel something. Be in a hurry, even though it may be scary. Cancer is not a joke. It’s real. Trust God to carry you through.”