Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

October 2, 2012

McGraw demands doctors check for cancer

VALDOSTA — When Safe Storage manager Polly McGraw went in for a lump on her breast in 2004, she was told that it was likely an infection and not cancer because of her age.

But McGraw, then 36, knew something was wrong.

Her grandmother and mother had both been diagnosed with breast cancer, and in spite of the diagnosis, she demanded a mammogram.

“They refused to give me one,” McGraw said. “They kept giving me antibiotics, and kept telling me cancer doesn’t hurt, and I finally just got irate with them.”

Cancer does hurt, McGraw said, and cancer knows no age. Doctors finally gave her the mammogram and diagnosed her with breast cancer Feb. 24. The following month, she had a complete mastectomy of her left breast.

McGraw was prescribed six months of chemo and 36 months of radiation therapy. She went completely bald, and could barely get out of bed most days. Luckily, she was working out of her home as an office assistant for her parents.

“It worked out really good,” McGraw said. “When I was able to work, I went to work. When I wasn’t, my husband took care of everything.”

McGraw is in remission, but accepting the loss of one of her breasts was difficult, she said. And after a while, she decided to have cosmetic surgery to restore the area.

“I feel better now,” McGraw said. “There are still a lot of scars inside and outside. It’s something you never forget no matter how many years go by. I feel more whole because I don’t have to wear a fake bra and a fake breast anymore. I feel pretty much whole.”

McGraw has a daughter and a granddaughter, and she worries they will be struck by the hereditary disease.

“She had to grow up really fast and take on a lot of responsibility,” McGraw said of her daughter. “I’m always scared now because we have such a big history. I’m always praying for the best, not just hoping.”

Doctors told McGraw her cancer was 90 percent likely to recur.

“I’m just praying that God carries me through this like he always has,” McGraw said.

McGraw offered her advice to other women to get checked out, and demand a mammogram.

“Don’t be ashamed to ask for it if you’re not feeling right,” McGraw said.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 140415-water003.jpg Sewage problems persist

    Early Tuesday morning, Valdosta became saturated when the area received approximately three inches of rain from 4 a.m. to noon. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 11 manholes throughout the City of Valdosta have spilled 286,500 gallons of wastewater into local waterways, and this number will continue to rise.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • vsuopera1dido.jpg Operatic Conclusion

    When the curtain lowers this weekend on Valdosta State University Opera’s performance of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” it will not only mark the end of the music group’s season.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘If I Were Mayor’ contest essays

    If I were mayor, I would do all that I possibly can to make the city of Valdosta marvelous, but I cannot do it on my own. Some things in Valdosta I feel it is necessary to focus on would be our literacy rate, unemployment rate, crime history, and our environment.

    April 16, 2014

  • APTOPIX Boston Marath_Stew.jpg Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-valdostaboe001 copy.jpg Valdosta Board of Education reviews finances

    Valdosta City Schools Board of Education celebrated many successes Monday night, discussed budget information and heard an announcement of intent from a hopeful charter school.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • dancing with the stars copy.jpg Dancing with Valdosta Stars raises scholarship money

    Valdosta State University Music and Theatre & Dance’s Third Annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta presented a fine dance show this past weekend.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • N0041120.jpg Passover: A nation reborn

    “And you shall tell your children that on that day the Lord has took you out from the house of bondage.” — The Passover Hagadah

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-DFCS001.jpg Luncheon recognizes DFACS employees

    Dozens of Lowndes County Division of Family and Children Services employees gathered Monday at Olympic Park for a barbecue lunch in recognition of their hard work.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140414-Sewage002.jpg Fla. calls for Valdosta boycott

    Florida residents are calling for a boycott of Valdosta regarding the sewage spills, with areas affected downstream increasingly distressed over the millions of gallons that have polluted the waters of the Withlacoochee and the Suwannee River Basin during the last several years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • police-lights-backgrounds-for-powerpoint.jpg ‘Dangerous’ fugitive caught

    A fugitive from Ohio wanted for attempted murder and a number of assault and robbery charges was captured by Valdosta police Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results