Holly Latham - Diagnosed at 40

As a nurse in UMC’s Emergency Center, I know the importance of screening annually for breast cancer, beginning at age 40. So, when I turned 40 that’s just what I did. January 22nd was my diagnosis day.

I used to always wear red lipstick. Then, after having kids, it was just a little too much to wear every day. At the hospital you don’t want to worry about the nurse taking care of you, so I always had my makeup on, my eyelashes, and my red lipstick made a comeback. It helped me feel like I had control in a time when you don’t have any.

When you are a nurse you know how to handle this stuff, but when you become a patient you suddenly forget it all. I was concerned about my two daughters seeing me go through this, but I knew I could be strong for them. When my hair started falling out, I called my hair dresser and made a party out of shaving my head with champagne and all! I was determined I wasn’t going to let breast cancer take over my life. I was going to take over it.

I got amazing care at the UMC Southwest Cancer Center—care that made me so proud to work at UMC and to be a patient here. Physician to physician communication was smooth—from Dr. Henderson, my Breast Imaging Specialist to Dr. Jones, my medical oncologist. My primary care physician, Dr. Sikes, also happens to work in the emergency center with me, and she and the rest of my coworkers gave me such support during my journey. They went so far as to donate Paid Time Off hours to me so I could have as much time as I needed to focus on my fight. I could never thank my whole UMC team enough!

My advice for current and future fighters: Remember there is an end to this chapter of your story, and at the end there is a light. So, fight hard and keep that at the front of your mind.

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