Ann Keever continues to fight cancer.
The wife, mother and co-owner of a local farm is facing her fourth fight against cancer. But the strong 61-year-old faces each battle with courage.
â€œYou just have to stop feeling sorry for yourself,â€ she said. â€œYouâ€™ve got to focus on what you can do and not on what you canâ€™t do.â€
Ann was diagnosed with fatal melanoma in 1990. She sprang into action to battle the disease by opting for an experimental treatment offered at Duke.
Treatments included injections of melanoma. The toxins alerted her body to the disease. Her body fought off the cancer by spring of 1991. She remained cancer free until 1997.
Ann was having a routine hysterectomy when doctors discovered cancer in her ovaries. Successful chemotherapy killed the disease by spring of 1998 only to have it return again in 1999.
She beat the ovarian cancer again by 2000 but was diagnosed again in fall of 2003.
For the first time the mass on Annâ€™s ovaries is isolated. Doctors removed much of the cancer through surgery three weeks ago. She starts another round of chemotherapy next week.
Ann is optimistic but doesnâ€™t look forward to the chemotherapy.
â€œThe treatment is more painful than the cancer,â€ she said.
The side effects of chemotherapy are varied. Ann described the pain, fatigue and loss of her hair.
â€œPeople say thatâ€™s just a minor thing, but once you start pulling handfuls of hair out, itâ€™s devastating,â€ she said.
Her hair has grown back and isnâ€™t expected to be affected by her upcoming treatment. But her life has been altered forever.
Ann used to spend most of her days working in the garden or helping on the farm. She grew up on a farm and has assisted on the farm with her husband, Leonard, since the 1960s.
Her activity may have been reduced, but Annâ€™s persistence and can-do attitude are obvious by the landscaping of her home alone.
Though she no longer has a garden full of thriving vegetables, the perimeter of her home is lined with growing cabbage and tomato plants. She tends to seedlings that will soon be planted.
â€œItâ€™s half the battle when you stay upbeat,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™ve always had good family, church and friends. Itâ€™s amazing what that support can do.â€
Ann said she looks forward to helping others by participating in the Relay for Life. As an honorary chair, she will give a speech and walk during the Survivorsâ€™ Lap and give a speech.
â€œYou canâ€™t ever give up hope,â€ she said. â€œYou canâ€™t ever give up the fight that there will be a cure for this terrible disease.â€by Diane Turbyfill