Longtime Dickson County resident Judy Beasley has always been diligent about her annual breast cancer mammograms.

“My mom and my grandmother and my aunt all had cancer, and my mom and my grandmother both passed away with breast cancer, so I go like I’m supposed to,” said Beasley.

She was born in Austria when her father was in the military. Her brother was born in Germany, and her sister was born in Africa.

After her father retired, they briefly lived in Florida before an aunt invited them to Tennessee. She’s lived in Dickson ever since sixth grade, attending both Dickson Elementary School and Dickson County High School.

In October 2019, Beasley went for her annual mammogram, and everything appeared fine.

Not long after, she was holding her grandchild, who kept bumping at a spot under Beasley’s left arm. Beasley felt a knot there. She talked to her doctor, who scheduled a 3D ultrasound with Dr. Stan Anderson, a radiologist at TriStar Natchez Imaging Center. The mammogram showed something on the chest wall, an area difficult to see with a standard breast cancer mammogram.

Beasley was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2020.

In March 2020, Beasley’s weekly chemo treatments began. They ended in late summer. Prior to her diagnosis and COVID-19, Beasley worked at First Baptist Church’s childcare center for 21 years.

Throughout her treatment, her support network was something she relied on.

“I got all kinds of cards and flowers and food. Everybody was really, really good to me,” she said.

Beasley said each time she had an appointment, she got a warm blanket, drinks and snacks.

“The girls would sit (down) before they even started the treatment, and they would talk to you,” she said. “They would say, ‘What’s going on? Do you need this? Do you need that?’ and I said, ‘No, I just need support.’ ”

“I think my biggest fear is for (the cancer) to come back because I think I handled it pretty well. … There were some times I didn’t feel like doing anything,” she said, which led her to the importance of simply waking up and getting out of bed each day.

“I did get up, get dressed, and put my shoes on every day,” she said, noting that there were a few days where she couldn’t get up, because of how tired and weak the chemo made her. She lost about 40 pounds while on chemo and said cherry limeades from Sonic were all that tasted good.

Last September, she had lumpectomy surgery in which the rest of the cancer was removed. She then began daily radiation at the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at TriStar Natchez, which she continued through December. Her doctor then prescribed her a chemo pill, which she said she finished about two months ago.

“My health now is better than it’s been,” said Beasley. She’s been declared in remission and is no longer taking medicine for high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which she took medicine for prior to her diagnosis.

Beasley now volunteers at CareNet’s secondhand boutique, LoRita’s Open Door, sends people cards and makes goodies when she can.

“I feel like I need to get out there and do something for somebody,” she said.

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