Coryell Memorial Patient and Employee Shares her Breast Cancer Story
Sheila Shavers has always led a busy and full life. She came from a large family and worked since she was 14, been married for 32-years and has two children and two grandchildren. She likes to sing and has a national beef jerky making business. Sheila was not expecting life-changing news in November of 2016 she went to a follow-up appointment for another issue. “In my nine years of working in housekeeping at Coryell Memorial Healthcare System (CMHS), I never thought I would be a patient. I had a mammogram six month prior, that is how fast it can come up,” recalls Sheila. “Dr. Dwyer, CMHS radiologist, called me and said he saw something and we needed to do a biopsy. When I received the news that I had stage I breast cancer, I had never been so scared in my life, but I knew my Coryell Memorial family would take care of me. I wasn’t going to stop and give up my life to cancer.”
“The Coryell Memorial Cancer Care Team shared my medical information with me and helped me make informed decisions about my treatment plan,” said Sheila. When the decision was made to move forward with surgery, CMHS general surgeon, John Bawduniak, MD, and scheduled her for a sentinel lymph node biopsy and mastectomy at Coryell Memorial Surgery. “It was very comforting to me and my family when everyone explained what was going to happen during the surgery.”
She was also contacted by Coryell Medical Clinic visiting specialist, Carl Chakmakjian, DO, Texas Oncology oncologist. Because Dr. Chakmakjian sees patients at Coryell Medical Clinic, she was often able to see him conveniently here in Gatesville. “It was such a relief to my family that I was able to receive so much of my care right here in town. As a patient going through cancer treatment, it has meant so much to be surrounded by so many caring people. I got to see what it was like from the patient point of view and it has made me even more proud to work at Coryell Memorial. I felt the support and encouragement of all my co-workers,” said Sheila.
Life after Cancer
“I was able to return to work and my jerky business within a few weeks after surgery. I spend as much time with my family as I can. Every three months, I see Dr. Chak at Coryell Medical Clinic for follow-up appointments. I attribute my strength to my faith and prayer, family, friends, and the staff at Coryell Memorial.”
Advice for women
“Get your mammogram every single year! I developed stage I breast cancer in just six months. What if I would have skipped a year? I want everyone to know my story because if I can encourage just one woman not to miss her yearly mammogram, it could save her life.”