MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Stephanie Anderton and husband Craig were looking forward to the birth of their first child in 2008 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“(There were) a lot of questions and a lot of doctors consulted with each other about how to treat me,” Anderton said.
She underwent a mastectomy to remove one breast while pregnant.
“That’s what we call my only udder summer,” Anderson joked. After the birth of her daughter, Hannah, she received chemotherapy.
Stephanie Anderton and her daughter, Hannah, in 2008
“I was bald, with one breast and a baby — that was the triple B’s,” she jokes, pointing to her chest.
To treat her aggressive cancer, doctors removed her other breast. She continued to work as a flight attendant and life went on despite the effects of chemotherapy threatening her chances of having more children.
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“When Hannah was 13 months old, I found out I was pregnant again, and so you know – I now have my little Tommy too. So I have my two little cancer miracles.”
Stephanie Anderton with her newborn son, Tommy, and daughter, Hannah
Anderton postponed breast reconstruction to pick up her small children. She planned to do it one day, but remembers the moment she changed her mind.
When she was 4 years old, Hannah saw her scars from the surgeries.
“She just kind of looked at it, and she just put her little hands in her little chin. Looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I’m so glad the doctor took out your bosom so you can be here with me,” Anderton said. “That was the turning point for me – when I decided reconstruction wasn’t important. I realized what that 4-year-old was saying – being with her and her brother were the most important things.
Anderton says she understands why some women choose to have reconstruction surgery and maybe one day she will change her mind. It’s not on her radar for now.
“I’m just comfortable where I am, you know? I still pick up my 12 year old. I still pick her up when I can and it works for us. I’m just thankful to be here. I don’t need it to be here. I just need to be here and healthy,” she said.
Anderton says she feels blessed by her cancer journey. “I’m just really sure this was God’s plan for me. I am a believer and I know that I am not on a journey that has not been filtered through His fingertips of love – we like to say that in my family. And I just knew I hadn’t been forgotten. This was His plan, and I often tell people that. I know you feel forgotten, but you’re not. You’ve been elected,” Anderton said.
Stephanie Anderton and her husband Craig with their two children, Hannah and Tommy
Anderton’s 13th anniversary of being cancer-free is October 30, the day of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk of South Alabama in Mobile. You are invited to celebrate all breast cancer survivors as you help others in the fight for healing.
Making Strides begins Saturday, October 30 at 8 a.m. at Cooper Riverside Park.