GARDENDALE, Ala. (WIAT) – Cecily Chaney has been battling glioblastoma, the same brain cancer as Senator John McCain, since March. However, the 65-year-old Gardendale resident had been having issues since January.
“You know it’s interesting because it never crossed my mind,” Chaney said. “That was like–the last thing on my list. I hadn’t even thought of the word, cancer.”
Chaney had been falling down. She noticed that her depth perception was off. She chalked it up to having inner ear problems. However a friend, and retired UAB nurse became concerned one day that Chaney might be having a stroke.
“She said, no. You’re going right now to the hospital,” Chaney remembered. “So they called the ambulance and they took me to UAB. I feel like that’s what saved my life.”
When Chaney got her diagnosis, she said that she and her family fell apart. She remembers feeling overwhelmed and unable to accomplish mundane tasks. “I was trying to survive at that time,” she said.
“My doctor, my surgeon, told me that if I did everything she told me to do–I may have two years to live,” she said.
Chaney is married with two children. Her husband lost his first wife to cancer.
“So I decided I was going to fight,” said Chaney. “I was going to fight for my husband. I was going to fight for my mom, because I’m the caretaker for my mom who is 85 years-old, and I was going to fight for my two sons who still need a little help.”
Chaney was in surgery the next day. The next steps included 42 days of chemotherapy tablets and 30 days of radiation.
When the announcement of Senator McCain’s diagnosis came out, Chaney said her heart went out to him. She also related to him.
“You know how he’s running around the country doing things when he should be in the hospital taking care of himself?” she laughed.
That’s the message Chaney wants to spread, now. She wants to see more people pay attention to the signs.
“I want other people to totally change the way they take care of themselves,” she said. “Because they may be able to prevent the same thing that happened to me from happening to them.”
Chaney has also drastically changed her diet–and wants to encourage others to eat less processed foods and read labels.
On July 10th, Chaney’s team gave her another scan that came back clean. She will return for another MRI in September.
“It’s not over til it’s over,” Chaney said. “So I just thank God that I am here, and when he calls me home I’ll be ready to go.”