Survivor: Rose Kellar

Posted 10/2/18

Cleveland's Rose Kellar has long been an advocate of regular mamograms, and taking preventive steps in the fight against breast cancer.Despite the many years of following this routine, and taking the …

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Survivor: Rose Kellar


Cleveland's Rose Kellar has long been an advocate of regular mamograms, and taking preventive steps in the fight against breast cancer.

Despite the many years of following this routine, and taking the proper steps, she had no history of breast cancer in her family. Still, she was well aware of the horrors of the dreaded disease, with incidents involving friends and acquaintances.

All that has changed. Rose Kellar recently became a "victim," and underwent surgery and successfully follow-up treatment. 

She said she remembers thinking, back on her 70th birthday, she has been fortunate  to have no major health concerns through the years, and feeling a little invincible. "I thought I was going to live forever," she said.

 That feeling of invincibility vanished earlier this year.

In May,  Rose attended her regular doctor's appointment, and  mammogram. In  discussing her experience in a recent interview,  she said  they told her she could have the regular mammogram, or a 3-D scan, which provides more detail.

"They gave me a choice of which scan to take," said Kellar. "I said to myself, if the (more intensive) 3-D is available, let's take it."

Based on her recent health history, no  surprises were expected by Rose or her doctor, Janet Coombs. Those anticipations proved incorrect. 

Her advocacy for preventive and regular care, paid huge dividends this time around, although it created moments of concern at the time for Rose... and later for husband, Richard, her family, and friends.

The 3-D scan detected a small spot. " They immediately  took me to another room, for an ultrasound," she said. The ultrasound determined  the need for continued investigation of the blemish.

The next step was a biopsy at the Chattanooga/Cleveland Imaging Center, and a determination by Dr. Coombs of the seriousness of  the spot, to be followed by a return visit the following week.

That visit including some staggering news, words you never want to hear. "She  told me it was cancer, but she didn't know what stage," said Kellar.

In a follow-up confirmation, Dr. Coombs softened the blow by saying it was a rare  type of cancer, treatable, and that Rose was fortunate  it was detected early.

"It is called Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, and is only detected in 1 percent of cases diagnosed.," said Kellar. "Dr. Combs said she had only been involved in only one other case of  this type."

Kellar said her doctor recommended surgery with a full, or partial, mastectomy, and once again gave her a choice. She also  told her it was stage 1.

Rose said she decided to make the decision on her own, and elected for the partial mastectomy.

Her journey began in May with the early detection at Tennova  Healthcare, and continued with the surgery in June. 

"It was quite an experience," she said, adding  that it was probably more difficult for Richard, and  the rest of the family, than it was for her. 

Rose said that when she made her decision for the surgery, and type of surgery, she based it on confidence."I was confident in my doctor, and I didn't think the Lord needed me up there quite yet."

She added that she knew her cancer was hormone based, and curable""It was still scary," she said, adding, that it was a lot like day surgery

Since the surgery, and it's apparent success with hope for full recovery, Rose recently completed 21 sessions of radiation treatments over a period of almost a month.

In reflecting on her "experience,"  the Cleveland resident emphasized  she is thankful that they caught her cancer early, that it was treatable, and  the confidence she felt in her physician.

She said she has become an even stronger advocate of the importance of scheduling regular mammograms, and has strengthened that message to family, friends and acquaintainces.

Another thing for which she gave thanks, is that she and Richard will be celebrating a 55th anniversary this month, without the shadow of this dreaded disease. 



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