“Initially I was going to hide and not tell anyone, not even my 25-year-old
daughter. Dr. [Russell] Dounies convinced me to do otherwise and it is
the support of my family that helped me get through it all.”
Cassandra Baker, 45, sought immediate attention after detecting a lump
on her breast after a routine self-examination. Within days she received
a mammogram, x-ray pictures, to find any signs of a breast tumor and/or cancer.
“No one wants to hear you have cancer. I said to myself, ‘I
am too young for this’ and I broke down,” Cassandra said.
High-resolution images of different layers of the breast determined she
had a cancerous tumor. With the assistance of surgeon Dr. Russell L. Dounies,
the tumor and five lymph nodes where removed. She continued treatment
with chemotherapy from oncologist Dr. Robert Havard Jr., and radiation
treatment from radiation oncologist Dr. Veena Ramsinghani.
Cassandra has had a very positive attitude regarding her experience because
of the friendly and caring medical staff at Sequoia Regional Cancer Center
(SRCC). “My guardian angels Alyssa, Elisa, Jaime and Tara [technicians
at Sequoia Regional Cancer Center] got me through my treatment and for
that I am thankful,” Cassandra said. Furthermore, she is thankful
for the hugs and advice she received from a patient she met at SRCC in
Hanford, who eased Cassandra’s fears and built up her courage and
confidence by showing Cassandra her scars. A whole community joined in
on her journey, including Pastor Charles Williams and First Lady Jessie
Williams from Renewing Faith Christian Tabernacle Church, who gave her
spiritual strength to fight on.
Cassandra is now able to take time to do what she loves most – playing
with her granddaughter, which includes singing, dancing and having tea
parties. “She keeps me young,” Cassandra said.
“I now have a bigger heart to love those who love me, and I can love
them back,” Cassandra said. “Stay positive, press forward
and have faith in God is my advice along with using Kaweah Delta’s