Belinda Momon has been making music her whole life, encouraging elementary students to build good character, serving as band director, playing percussion and traveling with her church choir. There’s little that can stop this lifelong teacher and Douglas resident.
When Belinda was diagnosed with breast cancer, she knew she could fight it with the same passion she always applied to music. And her victory over the disease became her most important composition.
It all began as a pact between two sisters. After losing their mother to cancer, Belinda and her sister vowed to get mammograms every year. In 2017, everything looked normal until Belinda found a lump.
It was a Friday evening, and Belinda wasted no time and saw her physician.
At Wellstar Douglas Hospital’s Imaging Center, the new mammogram confirmed she had cancer, underscoring the importance of paying attention to your body and discussing any changes with your doctor.
“My sister battled with breast cancer twice. She said ‘if I can get through this, you can get through this,’” Belinda remembers. “I felt encouraged.”
Personal care at every step
Belinda, who had just wrapped up her 30th year teaching, now had to draw up the same courage she had always instilled in her students.
“There’s so much life that I still need to live,” she said. “I’m not allowing breast cancer to stop me.”
As Belinda started her cancer journey, she met Diane Austin, a nurse navigator at Wellstar Douglas Hospital who survived breast cancer herself. Diane helped her make connections and appointments with cancer specialists.
The connection with the nurse navigator was immediate. As a cancer survivor herself, Diane understood what it meant to face cancer and all the uncertainty surrounding it.
“When I came across the nurse navigator position at Wellstar Douglas Hospital, it sprung off the page,” she recalled. “I immediately thought ‘this is something I can identify with.’ I just felt like I was called to do this job.”
At Wellstar, this personal connection is at the core of every physician, nurse and team member, extending beyond the walls of our hospitals.
“Sometimes, we have a patient who has to have a biopsy and is going to it alone. We’ll go there with them,” she said. “I think about my patients when I go home. I make sure I call back and keep up with them to let them know I am still here for them if they need me.”
Belinda began chemotherapy treatment to shrink the tumor before surgery. She went to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital for a mastectomy — a full removal of the breast tissue and lymph nodes. Here, all her previous exams were readily available thanks to Wellstar’s electronic medical record, allowing for a seamless transition between facilities.
In the months following her surgery, Belinda underwent a daily schedule of radiation on the Wellstar Cobb Hospital campus in Austell. The treatment drained her energy, but not her determination to live life to the fullest.