News and Tribune

Floyd County

October 11, 2013

HEART-FILLED ART: Cancer patient’s sister creates painting inspired by family unity



Before Ashby’s diagnosis, the sisters weren’t immune to cancer’s wrath. Ashby said she had two aunts who had breast cancer, and her sister, Cathy, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease eight years ago, and remains in remission after treatment.

“She was able to give me advice on what to expect. She’s been through chemotherapy [which Ashby expects to take],” Ashby said. “She told me, ‘this is going to be hell. It’s hard to do. But, she said looking back on it now, it’s almost like a blip on the radar. You get through it and the years pass and you’re thankful you went through it.”

Ashby added that the support of her children — Nick, 33; Katie, 24; and Jared, 21 — and that of her former husband has helped her through the shock and realization she has cancer.

“In addition to my children, I am truly grateful for the compassion, care and encouragement of my former husband, Rick,” Ashby said. “He has been one of my strongest sources of strength, support and understanding from the beginning. He’s been there with me for every appointment and test and through every procedure. I am so thankful for this during this difficult time for me and our children.”

Goodman noted that Ashby has always leaned on her faith, and her sister says this is the perfect time to do that.

“I trust in God and believe that he has a plan for me,” Ashby said.

Ashby said she tested negative for a genetic marker which shows a family disposition to breast cancer, which means she hasn’t passed that gene onto her daughter. She said her mother recently got tested as well and the family awaits the results.

“If she tests positive, then all my sisters need to be tested.”

Ashby also urges women to get mammograms when they are scheduled to do so.

“I’ve had my annual mammogram every year since I was 39 because of the family history [of breast cancer],” she said.

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