Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Bates County Memorial Patient Story: Angelia Cumpton


BCMH Patient Story: Angelia Cumpton

Healthcare workers are human and need care, too. Angelia Cumpton, LPN is a chronic care management nurse for Family Care Clinics and when she learned she had breast cancer in February 2023, she admits she was terrified.

As a chronic care management nurse, Angelia makes sure her patients are taking medication as directed and are getting the quality measures that Medicare offers. In the same way, Angelia’s care team at BCMH made sure she was ticking all the boxes to take care of her own health.

Angelia’s breast cancer was discovered in a somewhat unusual way. She had faithfully performed self-exam checks and received annual mammogram screenings for breast cancer, except for the year she skipped it because she had suffered a heart attack. The day she was scheduled for her routine mammogram, she was having surgery for stent placement instead, and she didn’t reschedule the mammogram.

Ironically, it was a hernia that sent Angelia to Dr. William Joyce’s clinic, leading to the discovery of breast cancer. As he prepared to order a CT scan for Angelia, Dr. Joyce noticed she was overdue for her annual mammogram, and he asked if she wanted to get that done on the same day. Angelia did, and the 3D mammogram revealed a marble-sized nodule.

“It had been a couple of years since she came in, and unfortunately, we found a mass in the left breast,” said Chris Pope, RT, R, M, Director of Imaging Services at BCMH, who conducted Angelia’s mammography services. “It was a centimeter and a half, and it wasn’t super large, but it was larger than what we normally find in a new cancer. So, we did additional views and an ultrasound, and she was recommended for a biopsy which she did have, and it came out as invasive cancer.”

Angelia said, “I was really shocked that there was something there. I didn’t have any symptoms that told me I had a lump … I did mammograms every year, but I missed one year.”

Angelia had a lumpectomy and several lymph nodes removed at KU Cancer Center, then completed chemotherapy treatments, two of which she suffered an allergic reaction to and was admitted to the hospital. After completing radiation in late August, Angelia says she will take medication for five years to help keep the cancer from returning. Even though the most difficult treatments are completed, she still has a battle to fight because her current cancer medication hasn’t been kind to her body.

She said, “My spirits have remained fairly good. I do have days that I’m down and days that I cry. And especially when I was going through chemo and I was sick and in the hospital after every chemo treatment, I cried a lot. But I knew that I had to fight it because the only way you get well is to be positive. My grandkids, and knowing I wanted to see them grow kept me positive, because I didn’t want to lose them. My five-year-old granddaughter told me I had to fight, because she needs me.”

Side note: Angelia said she explained her breast cancer to her grandkids in terms they could understand. “My grandkids always ask me if my booby’s still sick, and I tell them it’s getting well,” she said.

What has helped her through this rough road? Angelia said, “My grandkids really put a lot of encouragement on me to make sure that I was doing good. My kids took care of me, friends brought meals on days I didn’t feel like I could do anything. My faith has gotten stronger because it was found by the grace of God, and I know I wouldn’t be here if God didn’t have a plan for me right now.”

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