August 3, 2008

Determined to Beat the Disease

By Genie Collins, Americus Times Recorder, Ga.

Aug. 3---- -- AMERICUS -- It seems that Paula Adams has always faced cancer in one way or the other.

Yet, she remains optimistic and hopeful everyday, one day at a time, with the support and prayers of many and the love her family.

Both of Adams' parents had the dreaded disease, and she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in August 2004.

Having defeated that, she found out in April that she had bone cancer. However, the cancer has been confined to her right arm, and she can barely use it. She said she doesn't drive long distances, because it's hard for her to maneuver the steering wheel.

"I was crocheting an afghan for my daughter for her wedding, and my hand hurt so bad, I had to put it down," Adams said.

The diagnoses came after two MRIs, two bone scans and a bone biopsy. Her arm and hand were swollen the day of the interview.

Of her experience with breast cancer, Adams said she was in Wal-Mart and she told her husband Mike Adams that she had to call the doctor to get her test results. She had gone to the doctor, after she discovered a suspicious lump doing her self-breast examination.

"I did and they said, 'He'll have to call you back,'" Adams said, with a radiant smile.

When her cell phone rang again, it was the doctor and he said, "It's breast cancer." Stage four breast cancer, to be exact.

Adams got off the phone and turned to her husband and told him she had cancer. She added that on the way home, she cried.

"I told my husband when we got home, 'I have cancer -- but it doesn't have me,'" Adams said.

She was determined to fight it. Adams said she was determined to beat it then -- and she's determined to beat it now.

During her treatments, Adams would encourage patients who were depressed about their cancer situation.

Having undergone treatments of radiation and chemotherapy, Adams was cancer free for two years, before she learned she had bone cancer in April. The doctors told her that the likelihood was great that her cancer would return.

Adams said the doctors told her that her bone cancer was "treatable. If you have cancer, you have cancer."

"People have asked me if I'm afraid of dying," Adams said. "I told them I'm not afraid of dying, because I know I'll be going to a better place.

"I'm just afraid of leaving everyone."

A member of Leslie United Methodist Church, Adams 55 as of Friday, said she has had the "best moral support" from her friends, family and church.

"Just to know people are praying for you makes you feel better," Adams said. "Prayer is how I get through it."

Her encouragement for anyone battling cancer would probably be to "have a good attitude ... and know God's there and he's not going to leave you."

"The hardest part was telling my children," Adams said.

She is married to Mike Adams and they have two children, Eddie Adams and Angela Adams Horne. The Adamses have one granddaughter, Meadow.

Some local people are selling Boston butts to help Mike and Paula Adams with the medical expenses, associated with Paula Adams' treatment. For information about that, call Lorie Usry at 942-2017, Laura Cheek at 942-4766, Phyllis Tucker at 874-6945 or Cindy Pryor at 942-7654.

"I don't mind talking about it, because it may help someone else," Adams said of telling her story.

Adams begins her treatments Wednesday.


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