Loni Trumble, an oncology nurse at Cox Branson’s Center Center, had no idea that a routine medical exam would turn her from nurse to patient.
Trumble was turning 40, and scheduled a mammogram, which Cox encourages of all women when they reach their 40s.
She scheduled her appointment just before Christmas 2020 with expectations everything would be fine because there was no history of breast cancer in her family.
A few days later she was asked to come in for an ultrasound because of an “area of concern” on the scan. A biopsy on New Year’s Eve confirmed it was breast cancer.
“When Rachel at the Women’s Center told me the news, I just wanted to get out of there,” Trumble said in a social media posting. “I just sat there shocked for a bit. I didn’t cry though.”
When she stood up, she walked downstairs and went right back to work.
“I knew if I went home, I would just sit there and worry,” she said in the posting. “My patients needed me and they were a great distraction from the news I just received. I felt okay. I had been praying that God would give me peace and that it was all going to be okay. I thought that meant that I wouldn’t have cancer, but I guess what He meant was that I was going to be okay with cancer. I just had to look forward.”
Trumble shared a moment when she did “lose it.” She was meeting with Dr. Gus Gonzales, a co-worker who was now her oncologist.
“We were going over information about my surgery and his eyes started tearing up,” she said. “That’s when I just lost it.”
She then began a journey of three surgeries and 14 radiation treatments that ended in April. A scan in June showed no evidence of cancer. She will have follow-up mammograms every six months to make sure she is still cancer-free.
“I’ve always been a compassionate person but I’m even more understanding of what they’re going through now,” she said. “This has all been a God thing. I’m going to be an even better nurse for my patients because of this.”
Trumble is using her experience to not only help other women who are dealing with breast cancer, but also trying to raise awareness for all women of the need to get mammograms. In addition to seeking donations of soft cotton front-closure bras for patients to wear after surgery, she is speaking to women who think they may not be able to afford a test or who do not have health insurance.
“The Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks and other agencies take a lot of worry off of patients’ plates,” she says. “I think a lot of women put off getting a mammogram because they don’t have insurance and are worried about the cost. There is help out there.”
Cox Medical Center Branson is holding a free screening mammogram event at the hospital on Oct. 20. The Women’s Center and Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks are providing free scans for women without insurance, are at least 40 years old, and have no current breast problems.
Trumble is asking all women who have not had a test to take advantage of the opportunity.
“Please just do it. Please call today,” Trumble says. “Early detection is key and I’m telling you that my story would have been much different had I not made that call.”
Appointments for the tests can be scheduled by calling The Women’s Center at 417-348-8796.