Jodie Grannan: 'I can be a survivor'

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Posted 10/2/18

Jodie Grannan, the principal of Park View Elementary School, is currently fighting breast cancer. Though she says it has not been an easy process, she has received many encouraging words from …

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Jodie Grannan: 'I can be a survivor'

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Jodie Grannan, the principal of Park View Elementary School, is currently fighting breast cancer. Though she says it has not been an easy process, she has received many encouraging words from students, teachers and many others in the community. 

“I have my moments, but everyone’s been so encouraging,” Grannan said. “I have an amazing support system, and I’ve been very humbled with all the support I’ve gotten.” 

In December of last year, Grannan went to receive a routine mammogram. She had no reason to be worried about the results, and the results actually ended up showing no sign of cancer. 

This past May, she decided to get involved with a Bible study at Candies Creek Baptist Church called “The Daniel Plan,” which emphasized healthy living. She lost some weight in the process, which she says later helped her find the cancer. 

“On June 21, through a self breast exam, I found a knot and proceeded to the doctor that day — to ease my mind,” Grannan said. 

That turned out to be a wise decision, she noted. After undergoing tests like ultrasounds and a biopsy, she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer just one week later.  

“Triple negative” means it is a type of breast cancer which does not grow with help from the female hormones estrogen and progesterone or the HER2 protein, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means it does not respond to certain treatments, like hormone therapy. 

“It was pretty devastating to find that out; I didn’t expect it at all,” said Grannan. 

Grannan, 44, said she has no family history of breast cancer, which made the diagnosis all the more unexpected. Genetic testing she received after her diagnosis also confirmed this. 

Once she learned what she was dealing with, she and her doctors “immediately” began discussing a treatment plan which is set to involve chemotherapy and surgery to remove the cancer.

Grannan began her chemotherapy treatments in July. As of Oct. 1, she still had 10 treatments to go, but she expects to be done with them before Christmas. After the chemo is complete, she will finalize plans for surgery to remove the area affected by cancer. 

“It seemed kind of backwards to me, because I wanted to get it out of my body,” Grannan said. “But the doctors explained we needed to do the chemotherapy treatments before the surgery to kill any cells lingering anywhere else in the body.”

“Everybody’s treatment plan is different,” she added. “It’s probably going to look different for everyone.” 

Grannan urges all women to be sure to get their regular mammograms. She also said women should get into the habit of doing self exams and seeing their doctors about any abnormalities. She’s glad she did. 

The local principal admits receiving treatment for cancer is a grueling, exhausting process — one that has occasionally forced her some days to cut back on her activity or even stay home from the school she loves. 

However, she said she has been “humbled” to receive a great deal of help from her school and others in the community. 

“Bradley County Schools has been so accommodating to my treatment days and has helped me in multiple ways,” Grannan said. 

Park View’s teachers, staff and students have also been showing their support for her in a variety of ways, from designing “Real Knights Wear Pink” T-shirts to painting the spirit rock out front a bright pink color to providing meals to her family. 

Grannan said she has also received great support from her family, including her husband, Cletus, and sons Caleb, 18, and Corbin, 16. Her parents and her sister, Julie Collins, have also supported her through her treatments. 

She also described support she has received from her friends, her church and as well as other cancer survivors who have shared their stories with her. She has even seen people out in public wearing the pink T-shirts. 

She has also received many words of encouragement online, through a Facebook group where she writes about her cancer journey, “Jodie’s Journey of Faith.”

That constant supply of encouragement, she added, means the world to her and others who are living with the day-to-day uncertainty of breast cancer. 

“It’s like one of the survivors I met said, sometimes it is handled a day at a time. Some days it’s a minute at a time. Some days it’s a breath at a time,” Grannan said. 

“I’ve received a million prayers and thousands of cards and texts from people I know and people I don’t know. This is a very loving and caring community. This journey has not been easy, but I know with my faith in God and the continued support of my family and friends, I can be a survivor.” 

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