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Women Bond Through Cancer Treatment

2019

Women Bond Through Cancer Treatment

Carol Roth was frightened and sad when she walked into the Diana J. White Cancer Center at Adventist Health Sonora in November 2018. She had just finished chemotherapy for breast cancer and was about to begin radiation therapy. What’s more, she had recently lost Gracie, one of her two beloved dogs.

“I had heard all these horror stories about radiation,” said Carol, 80, who lives with her husband in Murphy’s.

But there in the Cancer Center waiting room, she found something she never expected; encouragement, support and a friend for life.

Carol Bailey, 71, of Soulsbyville, who was also undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer, happened to be in the waiting room at the same time. The two Carols bonded immediately. They not only shared a name but also were undergoing the same treatment and Carol Roth found strength in Carol Bailey’s experience and encouragement. “After speaking to Carol, I felt a lot better and then I just sailed through it,” Carol Roth says.

Then they discovered another connection: a mutual love of animals.

Carol Bailey volunteers with Friends of the Animal Community, which picks up abandoned dogs from Animal Control and tries to find homes for them. As she was leaving the Cancer Center after her treatment one day, Carol Roth noticed her rescue dog T-shirt.

With the loss of their dog Gracie, Carol Roth and her husband were thinking of getting another companion, and Carol Bailey had just the one for them.

“I had just picked up a sweet, mellow little dog named Cindy Lou,” Carol Bailey said. The couple met Cindy Lou at the Cancer Center and took her home for a weekend to see how she would do with their other dog. “I figured I wasn’t going to get her back.”

She was right. “After two hours of having Cindy Lou, we were in love and knew we were going to adopt her,” Carol Roth said. “I call her my therapy dog, because she makes me happy.”

The entire radiation oncology team shared in the excitement of Cindy Lou’s adoption. “Every day I went in for treatment, that’s all they talked about,” Carol Roth said.

“Carol also helped me get through radiation therapy,” she continued. “Until you go through it, you don’t understand. It’s important for women to speak up about how they feel and what they’re going through. Carol told me not to worry, and she never complained. It helped, knowing she was getting through treatment just fine. I made up my mind that if she could do it, I could, too.”

“It’s a feeling that we’re all in this together,” Carol Bailey agreed. “We’re all hoping for the best, and talking to someone who’s in the same situation you are, you just become closer to them.”

“All of this was meant to be,” Carol Roth concluded. “If I hadn’t met Carol, none of this would have happened, and Cindy Lou would never have come into our life. God works in mysterious ways.”