Jasper, Ga. (February 10, 2014) – Norma Maner has been her husband Jim’s “right hand woman,” helping him produce his renowned metal art that’s been featured in Southern Living and on Good Morning America, for 40 years. When breast cancer struck for a second time, her role changed and it was her husband Jim who supported her through countless chemotherapy sessions and doctor appointments at Piedmont Mountainside Hospital.
“After five years up the ladder, I thought I’d be in the clear but the cancer came back,” said Maner, who lives with her husband in Blue Ridge, Ga. “It was Jim who encouraged me to get my mammogram that led to my first cancer diagnosis in 1992. Even now, he never lets me do anything alone – he’s always by my side.”
After achieving remission and being cancer-free for 15 years, Maner thought she had kicked cancer for good. In 2006, Maner learned the cancer was back and her husband Jim was there to support her, loyal as ever.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better way to go through this,” said Maner. “Everyone treats me like a queen at the hospital. It’s been hard, but we make the best of it.”
Although there is no cure, Maner has undergone chemotherapy treatments occasionally over the past seven years at Piedmont Mountainside and now is on oral chemotherapy. Once a week, she goes to Piedmont Mountainside to have her abdomen drained as a result of possible chemo splatter.
Maner urges other women to hear her story and take action against breast cancer.
“At first, losing your hair seems devastating but not for long,” Maner said. “Then, you lose your breasts. That, too, will pass. My advice to women is: don’t just sit around the house being scared. Go get a mammogram.”
It is estimated that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. Regular screening mammograms, breast self-exams and yearly breast exams by a physician can help detect breast cancer at an early stage.
“Early detection is a woman’s best bet in treating breast cancer, and the way to achieve early detection is through regular mammograms,” said Jennifer Jones, M.D., Maner’s oncologist at Piedmont Mountainside for the past three years. “Starting at age 40, women should have mammograms every one to two years. For women with a family history of breast cancer, it may be necessary to start getting mammograms before age 40.”
For more information about breast cancer or to schedule a mammogram, visit piedmontcancer.org/mammogram.