This time it was different.
Kathy Foulk woke up on October 11, 2010 to what was to be a normal day. On her to-do list was a routine check-up with her primary care doctor. While there, Kathy showed her doctor a rash on her left breast. Her doctor was concerned and ordered a mammogram and an ultrasound.
“I thought to myself here we go again,” remembers Foulk. “My previous mammos over the past two years had shown abnormalities and after more testing it was always concluded to be a cyst. It scared me both times and then it would turn out to be not anything to worry about.”
This time it was different. Kathy received a call from her doctor asking if she had a surgeon. A biopsy of the mass had to be done. After further testing, she was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
“I immediately scheduled an appointment with Northwest Georgia Oncology where I met Dr. Madhurima Uppalapati,” said Foulk. “This beautiful woman with so much compassion and caring made me feel at ease. She created a comfortable environment for me to talk to her about my concerns. I also had to share all my crazy experiences with her for a good laugh.”
Plans were underway for Kathy to undergo a mastectomy as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatment for her cancer.
“I remember sitting in the waiting room for my pre-op appointment feeling unsure,” recalls Foulk. “I looked over and there was a young-disabled girl waiting to get a shot due to some health issues. I remember at that moment feeling overwhelmingly thankful and thinking that if the good Lord were to take me tomorrow, then I have lived a good life. I never felt sorry for myself after that. It was a turning point for me.”
By October 22, Kathy had her port inserted and began chemo treatment October 28. She had six chemo treatments three weeks apart and then radiation over 30 days. In March, she underwent her single mastectomy.
“I was feeling normal through the process, then one day I took a shower and my hair started coming out into my hand. The next day I had my hairdresser shave my entire head. I wore big earrings to balance the look,” laughs Foulk.
The chemo started to make her feel nauseated too. However, Kathy never lost her positive attitude and wicked sense of humor.
On October 2011, Kathy received great news. She was cancer free. To this day she is still in remission and now has a passion to help others going though it.
“I was asked by Dr. Uppalapati, who I call Dr. U, to be a liaison to other cancer patients to encourage them,” says Foulk. “I feel that nobody should ever go through cancer by themselves.”
Kathy has participated in cancer fundraisers such as ‘Sleepless for Survivors” for Relay for Life. She also serves as the Cartersville liaison for Loving Arms Cancer Outreach, which is an organization that assists people going through cancer.
“Many patients have to decide if they are going to buy groceries, gas or pay for their medicines. Loving Arms helps lighten the burden with these items,” says Foulk. “Maybe they are doing ok, but don’t have the money to replace a hot-water heater. For example, I worked with Home Depot to replace a kitchen floor for a patient so he could take his wheelchair into the house.”
For Kathy, who is the former mayor of Euharlee, it is an opportunity to give back after her own battle with cancer.
“It is about helping others who are experiencing cancer while building community awareness,” says Foulk. “Everyone was so good to me when I was going through treatment. Now, it is my turn to help.”
Kathy is also grateful for her experience at Northwest Georgia Oncology.
“Dr. U was incredible through my journey,” says Foulk. “It was such a joy to have someone you could put all your trust in and know everything was going to be ok.”