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Staying positive, support of friends a key to surviving breast cancer

Rockdale County resident Tricia Baker said a friendship she struck up with the late Glenda Lord of Covington  in 2006 helped her get through treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Rockdale County resident Tricia Baker said a friendship she struck up with the late Glenda Lord of Covington in 2006 helped her get through treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

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Rockdale County resident Tricia Baker said a friendship she struck up with the late Glenda Lord of Covington in 2006 helped her get through treatment after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

COVINGTON -- Not long after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, longtime Rockdale County resident Tricia Baker scheduled her first consultation with a doctor, and wound up meeting a woman who would prove to have a profound influence on her life.

"At my first consultation, I was introduced to a woman who had just had her last (chemotherapy) treatment," Baker remembered. "She was a very happy, positive person and we became the dearest of friends. She sat down with me and said, 'Look at me. You'll be fine. It's not the worst thing ever.' That didn't exactly inspire confidence.

"But we kept running into each other at different places, and I think our friendship was meant to be. We got to be close friends."

Baker's friendship with Covington resident Glenda Lord turned out to be of the highest quality, but it came up way short in the quantity department. In August 2010, Lord had a recurrence of her previous condition and after several setbacks died in May.

Baker who after 16 months of intensive treatment, which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation has been very involved in working with and advocating for other cancer patients. She has placed a priority on her kinship with Lord, and their portraits have stood together throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the store window at Ramsey's Furniture on the downtown Square in Covington.

"For the last five years, businesses in Covington have placed portraits and bios (of cancer survivors) in their store windows during October," Baker, who serves as a volunteer in Newton Medical Center's Women's Diagnostic Center, said. "Her photo is beside mine. I went to every treatment with her for four years. And through my going with her and supporting her, I met many others, and we'd sit and talk, because that's about all you can do during treatment."

At the recent fashion show fundraiser for the diagnostic center's Hope Boutique (a "store" within the facility which makes available free post-treatment clothing and accoutrements to patients), Baker, who lives in Conyers with her husband Gerald Baker, spoke of her relationship with Lord and all the positive things she received from it.

"We just loved each other," Baker said. "We hit it off and our husbands hit it off. We did so much together. Last August, she started going down and having issues that were not good, but she always stayed positive. I can't say enough good things about her. She never said a bad word about anybody and she never complained. She was so inspiring, and through her I've met so many other inspiring people. I only hope I can give to somebody what she gave to me."

Through her own experiences and those of people she's nurtured and encouraged, Baker is fluent in breast-cancer terminology, although she's not exactly excited to be so well-versed.

"Five years ago, you wouldn't catch me talking about these kinds of things," she quipped. "But now, if you tell your story to someone else and it helps them, you're healed. You can't be negative and you learn that life is short you have to enjoy the days you have."