Madonna Spring of Friendswood has an important job of providing security to patients, visitors and staff at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. As a security officer and now, a breast cancer survivor, she is usually the first person patients see when they go in for outpatient surgery procedures.
“I like to think they get to start with a smile and a positive word, so maybe they are a little less anxious by the time they go upstairs,” she says.
Her positive attitude wasn’t always so evident.
In 2012, Spring was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer. It was the last thing she wanted to deal with. Cancer was the same hateful disease that took her mother.
“I have three children and 13 grandchildren,” she says. “I didn’t want to leave them.”
Family was her biggest incentive and support. Her sister and daughter have been with her through most of her appointment and treatment visits.
Spring went to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for her care—a place she resented because her mother could not be treated there. At her first appointment, everyone could tell Spring was angry. A volunteer and a doctor addressed her concerns.
“You can let this define you, or you can define it,” she was told regarding her diagnosis. She left that appointment with a new outlook.
She soon started a regimen of 16 chemotherapy treatments. The tumor responded far better than oncologists expected. Doctors could not detect any cancer after her 12th treatment. Chemotherapy was followed by radiation therapy.
Her only regret while battling cancer was not sharing her diagnosis with coworkers.
“I didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, but I realize now I could have been a witness,” she says. “And they could have been a support system for me.”
Today, she’s a testament to the power of positive thinking.
“I went from looking at my diagnosis as a curse to looking at it as God’s mercy,” she says. “I honestly believe this was what I was meant to go through so that I could come out on the other side. I have a different perspective on life.”