Robin McCain

  Robin McCain (right) with her friend,   Karey Albaugh

Robin McCain (right) with her friend, Karey Albaugh

In November of 2013, an inner voice kept reminding me of how I needed to go get my mammogram—I thought I was just a few years behind. Busy with young children, time just flew by. When I finally did make my appointment a few months later, I found out I was six years past due. I was not too concerned because I have no history of breast cancer in my family. During the mammogram, the techs saw what they called “lines everywhere” and whisked me away to get an immediate ultrasound. During the ultrasound the radiologist came in and told me I have a malignancy, and I was astounded! I could not believe it! I was there, all alone and they are telling me that—instead of just informing my doctor and letting him tell me. They gave me the option of performing a biopsy right then and there, or have me leave and contact my doctor. In shock, I chose to contact my doctor. I went to the car and just cried and cried. It was the scariest time of my life to be told I have cancer! I have always worked out and taken very good care of myself and I was in disbelief. My doctor was also shocked at how the radiologist handled things and referred me to a doctor of his choosing.
I then went to this new doctor who had a very caring staff. They ran all kinds of tests. They said I had Stage I local breast cancer and I needed a lumpectomy. In the meantime, my husband, who works at the Liberty Group in Houston, reminded me of how his boss, Ken Bohan, was friends with Emma Jacobs, and how if I needed a second opinion she could get me in at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, right away. Once again, my inner voice was telling me to get a second opinion! Thank God for inner voices!! I told him I wanted a second opinion and Emma called me right away and got me in to see Dr. Anthony Lucci.
Dr. Lucci then told me that at MD Anderson, they would have to rerun all my tests because they find mistakes in past tests every week. After the testing, Dr. Lucci said that I didn't have Stage I, but at least Stage II breast cancer. But because of the size of the tumor, they were not expecting any cancer to be in my lymph nodes. However, one lymph node in the armpit of the cancer side was larger, so they performed a biopsy and it came back benign. They also found two other suspicious areas in the same breast, so they said I could do two more biopsies or have a mastectomy because if even one of those came back cancerous I would have to have a mastectomy anyway, so I chose the mastectomy.
During surgery, six of my axilla lymph nodes “lit up” when they ran the dye showing cancer and all of my lymph nodes had to be removed on the left side. I woke up in shock and disbelief when I was told that I had Stage III local advanced breast cancer. Even Dr. Lucci was shocked with the tumor size; they couldn't believe it was in my lymph nodes. I then was told I would need chemotherapy and radiation. 
My husband and I were not comfortable with the first doctor I saw in oncology. We could not seem to get answers; we felt as if she was very negative and we felt like we had to figure everything out ourselves from the paperwork that was handed to us.  Once again I contacted Emma and she got me right in the see Dr. Jenny Chang at Methodist Hospital in Houston. She and her staff were so wonderful to me!! They were very positive and told me the kind of cancer I had was what they have had the most success with, and she thought I would be cured. 
She also told me that if I wanted to, I could use “Cold Caps” and save my hair. This was so important to me because my hair is already baby fine and I was afraid I would be one of the 6% of cancer patients with permanent hair loss. A very good friend of mine, Karey Albaugh, came to chemo with me and changed out the Caps every 30 minutes. The temperature of the “Cold Caps” was -28° C, and so miserable! They had to be on my head for seven hours every day of chemo.  We even had to pull over on the on side of highway and change out these Caps when it was time. It was actually kind of hilarious! People who saw us were wondering what the heck we were doing. The Methodist Hospital staff was so amazing and kept me laughing all the way through treatment. I am so thankful for their caring staff and my friends and family who got me through my five months of chemo.
After chemo, I was told I would need radiation. I was against radiation because of all the future health risks. Jenny Chang referred me to a wonderful radiation oncologist at Methodist Hospital, Dr. Ben Teh. He explained to us that if I didn't complete the radiation, there could be a 40% chance of reoccurrence. With that being said, I endured six weeks of radiation and the Methodist staff and my family and friends got me through it. I then went through reconstruction surgery and am very happy with the results.
Today I am two years out and Cancer FREE! It feels so good to be here with my family and I thank God every day that I AM A SURVIVOR!!