‘I Found Out by Accident That I Had Breast Cancer’

Yvonne Coble

Ironically, a heart attack may have saved Yvonne Coble’s life.

When doctors performed a chest scan on the 52-year-old following her heart episode in May, they noticed something out of the ordinary on her left breast.

“They saw a small lump and wanted to do a biopsy,” Yvonne said. “I found out by accident that I had breast cancer.”

Two weeks later, she was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive and sometimes deadly form of cancer.

“Going through two major diagnoses was almost impossible,” she said. “It has impacted my life emotionally and physically. But I got through my heart attack, and I will get through this.”

According to Dr. Kory Jones, medical director of the breast program Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, triple negative breast cancer is a difficult diagnosis for anyone to accept, let alone understand.

“With this type of breast cancer, estrogen, progesterone and HER2 receptor proteins are not present in the cancerous tumor, which makes it difficult for the tumor to respond well to targeted breast cancer drugs,” Jones said. “This type of cancer produces inflammatory-type hormones that unfortunately stimulate the growth of cancer cells, which is why chemotherapy before or immediately after surgery remains the standard treatment.

“Everyone takes the news differently, but Yvonne looked at it like, ‘I survived a heart attack, so what do I need to do to survive cancer?’ She credited her cardiac episodes for saving her life.”

Jones performed a lumpectomy, removed several Yvonne’s lymph nodes and began immediate chemotherapy. Before starting chemo, Yvonne made the decision to go bald – she went to the barber shop and asked them to cut off all of her hair, which was nearly half-way down her back.

“By cutting my hair, I’m taking control of the situation, not the other way around,” she said.

When it comes to a strong family unit, Yvonne is grateful for hers. Family members take turns driving her to and from doctor’s appointments and cancer treatments. Coble said her battle with cancer has been an educational experience for her entire family.

“When people hear cancer, they are quick to put you in the grave, because they don’t understand,” she said. “I have knowledgeable doctors and nurses, but I still took the time to do my own research.”

And she didn’t just educate her family members. She shared her health issues with strangers, too.

“I told my story through testimonies at my church. I used to hide my scars, but then I realized I’m going through this for a reason. My situation can possibly help somebody else.”

Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.

18 Comments

  1. Nique Mills
    December 3, 2013

    So proud of you!!! Your strength is a blessing to other. I love u and my prayers will continue!!!

    Reply
  2. December 3, 2013

    This is one of my younger cousins, I am so proud of her, she’s a beautiful person inside and out, she’s a fighter with GOD on her side. Love you Vern

    Reply
  3. DeMonica Burks
    December 3, 2013

    I love you Auntie. You are my rock lets fight Cancer like a champ

    Reply
  4. mary robinson
    December 3, 2013

    We have a strong family and our prayers are with you. Love the Burks Family.

    Reply
  5. Dana Burks
    December 3, 2013

    I Thank God for you every day. You are an inspiration to me. You are one of the strongest person I know, you are strong just like our mother was. You are my Hero love
    you little sis.

    Reply
  6. Mieka, Financial Counselor THD
    December 16, 2013

    When I first met with Ms. Coble, she said “My benefits are met and I’m ready to do this!” and so she did. Everytime she comes in she has a smile on her face. Ms. Coble, “this too shall pass” and with God on your side, NOTHING will be against you!! Take care, eat well, and live life fully! You are truly an inspiration to us all!

    Reply
  7. cristina
    December 19, 2013

    God bless you , prayers.

    Reply
  8. isaac
    December 19, 2013

    I leave u with 2tim chpt 1 vr7: For the LORD GOD has not given us spirit of fear or timidity but of power, love and sound mind. My prayers are with u as u are healed in Jesus name. Stay bless

    Reply
    • Peggy Kowalski
      February 6, 2014

      Glory to God! With Him on your side, all else will be defeated. God does not make mistakes and your strength and message strenghtens the faith of others. Thank you for telling your story. You have blessed me (another breast cancer survivor) today. Know that you are loved and prayed for!

      Reply
  9. Maria
    January 27, 2014

    I hope God gives you the strength and courage that you need. May God Bless You and I will keep you in my prayers.

    Reply
  10. Deena McAllister
    January 29, 2014

    Thanks for sharing your story — talk about a silver lining! It’s awful to have had a heart attack, but thank heavans your cancer was diagnosed. You are an inspiration!

    Reply
  11. Shayla Burks Swain
    February 6, 2014

    When I got the newsletter from presby I glanced it then recognized your beautiful face. I said Lord I know family when I see them :)

    Proud of you cousin!! Stay faithfilled! Praying for you and can’t wait to hear the praise report. We will Believe the report of The Lord!

    Shayla Burks Swain and family

    Reply
  12. Yvonne Decker
    February 6, 2014

    WOW!!! Do you have an awesome story – GOD IS SO GOOD!!!!
    I have a similar story and have been saying for a long time “Cancer saved my life!”. Then I proceed to tell them the story of how I was sent for a PET scan after cancer was found and it uncovered an aneurysm of the ascending aorta was discovered. God is still on the throne and we are LIVING proof that HE has the last word!!!
    I am sssoooooo happy for you
    Blessings!!!

    Reply
  13. Demetria Powell
    February 6, 2014

    What a strong human being you are! You have definitely inspired me. Thanks

    Reply
  14. Jackie Clark
    February 6, 2014

    Yvonne, I received this article from a friend in my neighborhood who knows I’m a breast cancer survivor. I empathize & totally understand what you are going through. I will put you in my prayers. You sound like a very strong lady. Spreading the word is always a good thing. We must stick together & hopefully breast cancer will be a thing of the past soon. Take good care.
    Jackie Clark 972-690-1700

    Reply
  15. Jeannie
    February 6, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your story. Yes! We serve an AWESOME God and He will continue to carry you through. Keeping you and your family in prayer.

    Reply
  16. February 6, 2014

    Hello! I”m so happy for you and may you continue to be blessed! You are a strong beautiful lady and stay strong and keep believing in your faith.

    Reply
  17. Lisa
    February 6, 2014

    Oh my!! Bless you! What an awesome, inspiring story. I can only hope that others find the strength to tell their stories as you have. We all need to hear from more people like you, Yvonne. We live in the Ft. Worth TX area. My husband (age 60 at the time; 65 now) was diagnosed with diabetes in early 2009. Shortly after that came the prostate cancer diagnosis (a very aggressive type). He was able to afford to rent an apt. in Houston and underwent 2 months of treatment(one per a day, 5 days a week; total 38 treatments) at the MD Anderson Proton Radiation Center ending, in late Feb. Proton Radiation is used for breast, lung, brain, especially in children, prostate cancers, etc. Then in Sept. of 2009, he had a heart attack. This is one more reason to seek a 2nd opinion. The “cardiologist” who treated him at the ER at Harris Hospital Heart Center Ft. Worth ended up telling us WITH A CARDIAC SURGEON PRESENT that there was nothing that could be done, to take your meds and be thankful for the time you have left. By December, I had searched and found a cardiac surgeon in Houston, Dr. O.H. (Bud) Frazier. He was trained by Dr’s. DeBakey and Cooley. He was at least 65 or 70 when he saw my husband and said “Oh, this is no problem, just routine. When can you be here?” Within 2 weeks he was in surgery. We spent New Year’s Eve together at St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston at the Cooley Clinic 3 days after his quadruple bypass and TMLR (a life saving procedure developed by Dr. Fraizer for people with advanced arterial disease, gotta look it up if you want to know more). His website said “if you’ve been told that nothing can be done for you, call us”. So I did. I just am amazed when I hear stories like Yvonne’s. There are so many others like hers out there. DON’T GIVE UP! FIGHT like Yvonne did!!

    Reply

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