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Breast Cancer in a COVID World

Covington, Ga. (Oct. 8, 2020) – Sonya Hopper needed to schedule her annual screening mammogram, which she typically got each March, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Due to the uncertainty around the pandemic, she decided to postpone making her appointment.

“It would have been so easy to just brush it off and wait until next year,” said Hopper. “With everything going on this year, I could have kept putting it off and putting it off, but it stayed on my mind and I finally scheduled the appointment for August.”

Expecting nothing out of the ordinary, Hopper had her screening mammogram at the Women’s Diagnostic Center at Piedmont Newton Hospital, but the radiologist saw something new on her images.

“I received a call asking me to come back for further imaging after the doctor saw something different on this year’s mammogram,” said Hopper. “I was scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram and then a biopsy. It all happened so quickly.”

Within two weeks, she was starting chemotherapy for aggressive, stage one breast cancer.

“I spent the first week afraid of what to expect from the chemotherapy,” said Hopper who is very active and a CrossFit enthusiast. “I think being in shape has helped me to respond well to my treatment. I have some fatigue and mild side effects, but otherwise, I feel pretty good.”

With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, Hopper wanted to share her story to stress the importance of getting annual screenings.

“Cancer does not care if you are healthy and in shape,” said Hopper. “Healthy people get breast cancer, too.”

Hopper will undergo a total of 20 weeks of chemotherapy before having surgery to remove both breasts followed by reconstructive surgery. She’s ready for a long battle and says she faces her journey one day at a time.

“I’ve leaned into my faith during this time,” said Hopper. “During COVID, well before my diagnosis, I started reading my Bible more. I started getting deeper into my faith and felt God was revealing Himself to me. I think He was preparing me and preparing my heart for this trial.”

Hopper is also happy that she has days where she feels well enough to go to CrossFit. While she’s not participating this year, she will be cheering from the sidelines at an upcoming CrossFit competition at her gym, Savage Society CrossFit. After learning about her diagnosis, the gym put together the competition in support of Hopper, and proceeds from the competition are being donated to the Hope Boutique at Piedmont Newton.

“When someone receives a cancer diagnosis there is a lot of information to process and a lot of choices to make. It can be overwhelming,” said Hopper. “I believe there is a God who carries you through and will ease your fears. He’ll do this in so many ways and by putting people in your life to help you through the hardest parts.”

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