Swift cancer response helps get Huckabee back into life again

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Linda Huckabee is a lot of things to a lot of people. She is a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a friend. That’s why she offered no hesitation regarding her treatment when she was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ, DCIS, in February 2008.

“My option really was for (the doctor) to do a lumpectomy, and they wanted to do radiation,” Huckabee says of her decision. “All the research and everything I had done, you are seven times more likely to get cancer. I had two aunts that had breast cancer.”

Doctors label DCIS as a pre-cancer, a mass that indicates a strong likelihood that the carrier will soon face a much more serious form of breast cancer. That is a chance Huckabee was not willing to take.

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What followed for Linda was just the logical order of things . She shared her feelings with her husband, Don. With no dispute from him, she opted for a double mastectomy.

“Her options were that she wanted to take (both breasts) off because she didn’t want to go through radiation,” Don says. “Linda felt like that was the best decision for us. I told her, ‘Whatever you decide, I’m going to back you up.’”

“There just wasn’t any question in my mind that that is what I wanted to do,” Linda said.

For Linda and Don, the entire process was largely without issue. They first got a hint regarding the lump six months prior to her diagnosis.

“Whenever I went in for my yearly exam, she actually thought she felt something in my breast in August,” Linda recalls. Six months later, the couple was waiting to hear the results of a needle biopsy.

“I think I managed pretty well. I was nervous about it,” Linda says. “You try to wait and see and try not to make a big deal out of it until you know.”

After learning the diagnosis, the couple agreed quickly that swift response was the best option.

“I told Linda that the one thing we’re not going to do is watch it,” Don says. “We’re going to deal with it now. I think she made by far the best decision.”

A mother of two and grandmother to four, it was important to Linda to maintain her lifestyle.

“She got back to living life,” Don says.

For Linda, that life had long meant enjoying time with family and friends. But her experiences had also introduced her to a new group of friends, women who had endured similar difficulties.

“I think you find out about a lot of people whenever you go through something like this. You kind of get that support group together,” Linda says, before taking note of how the incident has profoundly impacted her. “I think it makes you more appreciative. You thank the Lord for every day.”