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I Never Thought It Was Cancer

  • Author: Kimberly Ardoin
  • Date Submitted: Oct 9, 2023
  • Category: Cancer Center

“Kimberly encourages other women to stay vigilant and pay attention to even the slightest changes in their body.”

Kimberly Ardoin, full-time retired grandmother and part time substitute teacher and tutor found out how fast things can change when it comes to breast health. In May of 2021, Kimberly made sure to attend her routinely scheduled mammogram appointment and was relieved to hear that everything was normal. Unexpectedly just nine months later, in February of 2022, she noticed some discomfort and itchiness on her breast. She assumed it was a bug bite or irritation. When it didn’t go away, she was persuaded by friends that it was time to see her doctor.

“I never thought it was cancer,” Kimberly recalls, “I didn’t think breast cancer would show up visibly and hurt.”

Her primary care physician ordered another mammogram, ultrasound, and a needle biopsy. Still unbelieving after tests were ordered Kimberly thought to herself, “Everyone is getting all bent out of shape over this. There’s no way this is cancer.”

When she received the call from her doctor with the results, Kimberly was shocked. Uncertain what would happen next, she made a resolve to do whatever is necessary to beat cancer.

After undergoing a single mastectomy, Kimberly continued her journey to radiation treatments five days a week for 28 treatments. The daily commitment to attending appointments, along with the extra care it took to deal with side effects of the radiation on her skin, were burdensome. However, Kimberly says she’s thankful to have been able to stay in Lake Charles, where she lives, and not bear an even larger burden of traveling daily.

July 29, 2022, after ringing the “victory bell” at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, Kimberly’s family and friends gathered for a “Flock Cancer Party” complete with pink flamingo decorations, pink feathers, and plenty of celebration.

Today Kimberly is not just surviving, she’s thriving. Guided by her cancer experience, she is passionate about walking alongside other breast cancer patients, accompanying them along their journey. She participates in a monthly cancer support group as a mentor. Kimberly encourages other women to stay vigilant and pay attention to even the slightest changes in their body.

 “You never know when it could be something more serious than a minor discomfort,” Kimberly says.