JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Nearly two years ago, Lisa Patton discovered something that would change her life forever.
“I actually felt a really hard, pea-size nodule, and right away my stomach just kind of sank, and I was like ugh gosh that’s not a normal lump,” Patton said.
Patton scheduled a mammogram for the next day, but her doctor didn’t find anything out of the ordinary.
“He said 'In my heart of hearts I think this is nothing, just get it biopsied at some point,' and I was like, 'Can you biopsy this tomorrow? I’m not going to believe this is nothing until you guys tell me it’s nothing,'” Patton said.
When the results came back, Patton was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer at the age of 31.
“I remember walking around the house and just being like oh my gosh, if I die and my husband gets remarried, who will he marry? Will they keep pictures of me around the house? Should I write letters to my kids to open in certain intervals like in their lives? You’re just thinking all these things and worst-case scenario,” Patton said.
Within two weeks of her diagnosis, Patton went through a mastectomy and started the first of four rounds of chemo.
“The one doctor I saw, she said, 'leave no stone unturned,' and basically that was the treatment plan I went with. I wanted to know that if it does come back I did everything possible. I couldn’t have done anything else,” Patton said.
Happy to be alive and well, Patton has turned to running.
“I feel like it’s strengthened me mentally. I’ve adopted the mantra of like, I have to run 20 miles -- no, I get to run 20 miles, as crazy as that sounds,” Patton said.
Patton and her husband will head to Jacksonville from Kansas to run the Donna Marathon. Patton says she’s running the 26 miles not just for herself, but for a friend who recently lost her life due to breast cancer complications.
“When I was running last weekend I was like OK, she would give anything to be here running, and so many people would give anything to be here to run,” Patton said. “I was just thinking OK, she’s cheering me on, don’t quit Lisa, don’t quit, so I feel like it’s going to have even extra meaning now.”
Patton saw three doctors before she was diagnosed, all of whom told her the lump she felt was nothing. She hopes sharing her story will encourage others to advocate for themselves when it comes to health.