SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

Even+though+it%27s++November%2C+we+still+remember+Breast+Cancer+month+and+the+struggles+of+women+around+the+world
Even though it's  November, we still remember Breast Cancer month and the struggles of women around the world

Even though it's November, we still remember Breast Cancer month and the struggles of women around the world

Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Even though it's November, we still remember Breast Cancer month and the struggles of women around the world

Maya Duplik, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Camille Keys, a senior English teacher at Solon High School, was diagnosed in March of 2014 with breast cancer.  As we roll into November, and the national cancer month ends, we still need to remember and give attention to breast cancer, a disease that  will affect about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) every year, and although Keys was able to survive the  attack, she will still struggle with the effects of treatment every day of her life.

The following paragraphs will describe her journey throughout the weeks that she was fighting the deadly disease.

“I didn’t take the diagnosis very well.  I got very frightened, and  I had to learn how to pull myself together quickly,” said Keys. “I worked very fast after I was diagnosed,  the next week I was in having biopsy, and after spring break I was in the clinic having the necessary operation.”

Keys tumor was predicted to be a 1.8 tumor behind the nipple, but it was a .9. However, it was HER-2 positive which is the second worst growth factor that you can have, and within two and half weeks it had traveled to the lymph nodes, and since it traveled to another organ it became Stage II Metastatic Breast cancer. A lumpectomy was then performed and they took out only five lymph nodes which really shows how early they got it. After that she started weekly treatments of chemotherapy.

“I had seventeen rounds of chemotherapy. I was given a port that went down into my veins, and it just felt like something cold being injected into my bloodstream,” Keys said. “However, they give it you on the opposite side that you’re cancer is found, so it damaged my heart, I have a left ventricle that doesn’t pump as much which is a type of heart disease, so now I’m on medications called beta blockers, which I never was on before.”

Chemotherapy has multiple side effects, and affects the body in multiple ways. Taxotere a company that provides the necessary shot before chemotherapy for multiple reasons including protection of the immune system has recently been in the papers for legal issues as women have been suing them for permanent hair loss. The Taxotere lawsuit states the manufacturer of Taxotere (Sanofi-Aventis) failed to warn patients and physicians of the increased risks of permanent alopecia during chemotherapy.

I was fatigued all the time, I permanently lost my eyelashes, and I get my hair cut a certain way, because when you look closely there are spots on my head that are bald, and these will never grow back, it was because of Taxotere,” Keys said. “I had hardly any negative reactions to the chemotherapy, but the shot that I had to get because of my weak immune system, completely deteriorated my body, and I was in bed for about a week,  it was very hard to wear the patches afterwards, come to school and do whatever I had to do.”

Through Keys’s treatments she continued a normal schedule at SHS, keeping up with  four  senior classes.

“I refused to give in, and did everything I had to do,” Keys said. “Mrs. Harvey was probably my rockage through all of it, so I was very lucky to have such a good friend behind me. There would be times I’d break down in class, but my kids were very family oriented, and always made me feel like it was okay to cry.”

Jill Harvey, a History teacher at SHS, stood by Keys throughout the journey, going to the doctor’s appointment, sitting with her through chemotherapy, (a four hour process) and researching about the cancer, making sure to support her throughout the journey.

“It was an extremely scary time, and I was in shock.  I sincerely believed when I went with her for the biopsy that it would come back negative,” Harvey said. “It was a very somber time.  I took the news very hard, but I had to be strong for my best friend.  I started researching her type of breast cancer and just tried to stay positive, upbeat, and reassuring.”

During chemotherapy Harvey said that she and Keys bonded. They reminisced about funny stories and happenings throughout their 24 year friendship, and truly bonded.

“We actually shared many laughs during the chemotherapy appointments,” Harvey said. “We also went shopping for wigs together.  That was interesting, however, we made things light hearted and fun in the midst of everything.  When she finally went into remission is was such a weight lifted off my shoulders, however I know Mrs. Keys still worries about it returning.”

Although Keys is currently in remission, the doctors agree that she will never be completely cured of the cancer that traumatized her body because once you’ve had cancer patients can never be completely cured.  Patients will be considered  cancer candidates which defines you as at risk for the rest of your life.

There’s an 82 percent chance it will never come back, and  I am three and a half years out, but usually they tell you’ll be safe at five years,” Keys said. “I currently go through diagnostic mammograms, an x-ray of the breasts, and it’s so nerve racking. I used to have to do it twice a year, but I only have to do it once a year now because as patients get farther out from being pronounced clean they don’t have to see the doctors as much. There’s always that 12 percent chance that the cancer could return, so my family and I are always relieved when I get through the doctor’s appointments.”

During the weeks after Keys was diagnosed and students were able to find out through word of mouth, many students and staff sent her cards and gifts.  One of the clubs, Students Against Destructive Decisions, made a signs for her and went out on the football field before the game to show their support.

“It’s hard for me personally, and I’m seeing people about it,” Keys said. “You’ll never see me wearing pink because I just can’t face it yet. The year I was diagnosed kids got together at a football game, and I couldn’t even go. I always give 100 dollars to the dunk tank, and I give money every month to Susan Colman the biggest breast research group as well as St. Jude’s an organization for children with cancer.

There are different symptoms of breast cancer  although some people have no symptoms at all. Symptoms can include any change in the size or the shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast,  and a new lump in the breast or underarm. If you have any signs that worry you, see your doctor right away.

“I don’t know if it will ever be over for me,” Keys said. “Cancer changes you, it makes you a warrior, it makes you stronger than you were before, it makes you really believe the saying that life is precious, and it makes you think of what’s really important in your life. It’s hard to face it everyday. It’s a battle that I face everyday and everyday I get through it, and I win.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    Music in Motion student by day, world renowned Irish dancer by night

  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    SHS welcomes new substitute teacher

  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    ‘The Game’s Afoot’ for the fall play

  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    Solon High School student notches top 10 finish in citywide singing competition

  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    New SHS courses promote student expression

  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    Class of 2018 reflects on their time at SHS

  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    Solon High School introduces its first female football player

  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    African American Culture Club brings new traditions for the new year

  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    Fidget Spinners: boon or bane for Solon High School?

  • SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival

    Feature

    A preview of the 2017 commencement speeches

SHS teacher shares her courageous tale of survival