Relay for Life’s Honorary Chair keeps it positive
MIDDLEWAY – When Brenda Dailey was asked to serve as Honorary Chair for the 2017 Jefferson County Relay for Life, she didn’t think twice.
Diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma stage 2 breast cancer in early October 2014, Dailey has participated as a Relayer for the past three years. By the end of that month, after many tests and scans, the cancer was found in two lymph nodes and her liver. The diagnosis quickly changed to stage 4. She sees the opportunity as Honorary Chair to share her story and encourage others fighting the cancer battle.
Dailey is a lifelong resident of Jefferson County residing in Middleway. A wife, mother of two and grandmother of two, she didn’t anticipate in 2013 when she received a clean bill of health with a clear mammogram that her world would so drastically change.
“I had issues with fibroid cysts in my breasts,” she explained. “I knew where they were and what they felt like. But the mass was hiding behind or mixing in with the cysts.”
She explained that by the time the cancer was discovered, it had likely existed for several years. It just didn’t show on the mammogram. In addition, Dailey said that because, at her age, she was estrogen and progesterone positive, the cancer actually fed off her hormones.
Treatment began with 16 rounds of chemotherapy. Having treatment every other week, Dailey said that she continued to function, working 36 to 38 hours during treatment weeks and her normal 44 to 50 hours on the off weeks.
“I had made up my mind cancer was not going to beat me,” she said. “I was going to beat cancer.”
Dailey shared that there were people who asked if she was going to stop work, saying her response was always the same – a resounding no.
“People hear ‘stage 4’ and think you shouldn’t be alive,” Dailey said. “But a positive mental attitude is the main thing. I won’t let this control my life.”
Dailey’s treatment continued after chemo with radiation treatments over five weeks. Next came injections in her stomach to suppress the ovaries. After taking these shots once a month for a year, Dailey and her doctors made the decision to remove the ovaries rather than continue the shots. When examining her removed ovaries, breast cancer cells were discovered in one ovary.
“It was never seen on any scan,” she said. “It was so small it took a microscope.”
Dailey is currently on hormone therapy drugs to control her cancer. She sees her oncologist every six months and endures tests and scans. When the drug she takes is no,longer effective, she is prescribed a different one. The side effects, she said, include joint pain, muscle aches and nausea, but you learn to deal with it.
The positive attitude and love and support of her family, church and friends have helped her along her journey. As a Relayer and now as Honorary Chair, she hopes to share those with others and continue raising funds to help find a cure.
The Jefferson Relay will be held from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. June 24-25 at Jefferson High School. Teams will walk all night, participating in themed laps. Dailey, who is a member of “Barb’s Blessing” team, hopes to be there the entire time. She has already exceeded her personal goal of raising $3,000 but any additional funds are welcome. Relayers are still able to sign up to participate and folks can just come donate, support through various raffles teams are holding or just come out to socialize.
“I’m looking forward to getting my story out,” Dailey said. “I want to let people know they can beat this. And, I want to be around when they find that cure.”