Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A WOMAN OF COURAGE: Dr. Judith Presley

Campus Breast Cancer Survivors at Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University joins the mission to end breast cancer and shares stories of campus survivors for the Susan G. Komen On The Go mobile experience. The interactive information center featuring self-exam instructions, awareness tools, games and food will visit TSU (Welton Plaza) on October 1, 2009, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.

Celebrating with the TSU Vintagers this past August was an unforgettable occasion for Dr. Judith Presley. A professor in the College of Education’s Department of Teaching and Learning, Presley marked her 40-year class reunion after a bout with breast cancer.

Diagnosed in 2007, she did not know cancer ran in her family. Although she noticed changes in her body, Presley always had regular mammograms and never gave cancer much thought. “I had funny feelings about my health. After my surgery, I found out my father’s sisters had brain and lung cancer. Knowing that family history, I realized I had to pay closer attention to my body,” said Presley. It was the visit to a new doctor who ordered the mammogram that immediately detected her breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy with no radiation treatments or chemotherapy.

She admits the road to recovery was an emotional struggle. Feeling tired and stressed, the devoted employee, who at the time was responsible for assisting TSU students with teacher certification, took six weeks of sick leave. Yet, a love for her students soon brought her back into the classroom to teach special education courses.

Plainly put, Presley knows she is blessed. “I listened to my body and stayed connected with a good team of doctors.” She advises younger women to be proactive in asking for a mammogram in addition to an ultrasound if they have a family history of cancer. She also has advice for employees with co-workers dealing with cancer.

“Co-workers with this illness need all the support they can get. Even if you don’t know what to say, just do little things to show them that you care.”

For more information, contact the Office of Marketing and Public Affairs at 963-5331.

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