Six years ago when Regina Raiborn went in to her doctor for her regular mammogram, she never expected her life to take such a drastic turn. Raiborn became one of the 276,000 people every year who are diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I remember after the biopsy, the doctor came back in the room, and this was before they had taken the sample in to be sure, but he said ‘you’re in for a long journey’ and he was right,” Raiborn said.
The typical radiation and chemotherapy worked, and Raiborn said that she was in remission for four and a half years, before one day finding a lump once again.
After a quick trip to the doctor the very next day, Raiborn discovered her worst fears were realized, and her cancer had returned.
“It was just devastating,” she said.
For the next four months Raiborn once again went through chemo and radiation treatment, which was able to reduce her tumor by 60 percent by June. With the chemo and radiation treatment taking a toll, she said that her doctor decided to halt treatment and monitor her progress.
By August though, there was marked new growth, and Raiborn said that she was told her tumor which had just been in remission two months ago, was now stage three.
“They told me it was very serious, and they put me on the chemo treatment that they called the red devil, and let me tell you it was,” she said.
But after an intense few months of treatment and 37 radiation treatments, Raiborn was once again in remission.
In January 2021 Raiborn will be in remission for a year, and after six years of treatments and 13 total surgeries, she said that her main excitement is being able to raise her two 12-year-old daughters.
“When I first was diagnosed I remember the doctor told me that I needed to stay positive, and keep fighting, because it is a fight, it’s a fight that doesn’t end, and you have to remain positive,” she said.
It was this positive outlook, and the support of her husband, Joe, that she said helped her get through.
“I just kept telling myself that I had two daughters to raise, and I was not done doing what I needed to do,” Raiborn said. “I am a pretty strong person, but it takes more than just you when you deal with something like this.”
For the breast cancer survivor, the hardest part of her disease was losing her hair.
However, she said that the second time she was faced with treatment they made it a family event.
“We decided to shave my head again and had the girls come in and vacuum it as we shaved it, we even videoed it,” Raiborn said, laughing. “It became a big family affair.”
With October dedicated as breast cancer awareness month, she said that it is more important than ever to be aware of the science behind these treatments.
“I just think it’s so important to be aware of what we go through,” she said. “When you are diagnosed you’re a lifelong cancer patient.”
One of the more common side effects of chemotherapy is nausea, and she said that throughout her entire treatment that was never something she had to encounter.
“The only thing that I can say is that to get through something like this people need to stay positive, and have faith in God. It’s hard to understand why some of us lose our battles and so of us don’t, but it’s all a part of God’s plan,” Raiborn said.