Gina Noble shares her past journey during October, breast cancer awareness month.
October is breast cancer awareness month. Of the 3.8 million women in the United States who have been diagnosed, one strong survivor plays a vital role in the lives of students and the town of Stillwater.
Gina Noble, associate director of undergraduate studies in the School of Media and Strategic Communications and professor of professional practice, served as Stillwater’s mayor from 2015-2017.
Noble experienced a public journey with breast cancer in 2016. Her story depicts the amount of strength she truly has, as a city advocate, educator and mother.
In 2016, as a member of the city hospital board, Noble was asked to participate in the creation of a public service announcement showing the new mammography and early detection equipment at Stillwater Medical. This process would be quick and easy, allowing cameras to follow Noble through the early detection process.
Noble was the mayor and one of two women on the hospital board, so she was the perfect figure to advocate for the new equipment. She received a call with her appointment and would be in later that week to go through the process for the PR team.
“I met them over there on that Friday, I had just been to my yoga class and you know I was in really good spirits,” Noble said. “I went over there to do this good deed and they put the camera on me, we went through the rooms, we did everything… It took five minutes it was so easy.”
After the short process, the doctors told Noble that because she was the mayor and was there, they were going to have the radiologist look at her results immediately. An innocent walk to see the radiologist took a sharp turn.
“I could feel by his face, he told me that I had cancer," Noble said. "That was the start to my journey."
As a 53-year-old with no health concerns in her family, Noble was taken by surprise while completing the process. The early detection gave Noble freedom and choices among the lines of treatments and surgeries. While she did not have to face the pains that those do in later stages, her experience was very publicized.
“I was the one that came out and said I should announce it,” Noble said. “I didn’t want to go through that in vain, I wanted to help someone else.”
In August of 2016, Noble had sorted out treatments and surgeries with insurance. It was then decided that her surgeon could ultimately remove the cancer.
Following that, she was then cancer free.
“As soon as I got those results, it changed everything, you know I had my life back, I didn’t have to go through anything else,” Noble said. “I just had to heal.”
Noble was eager to recover so that she could return back as school was starting. This fact is one that does not surprise me. From personal experience, I can attest that Noble takes great passion and drive to educate her students.
The journey that Noble endured embodies strength, bravery and optimism, but most importantly, the vitality of early detection for breast cancer.
While mammograms aren’t recommended for women until ages 40-44, the conversation is one to have and take part in.
“… you have mothers and you have grandmothers and aunts and sisters and friends,” Noble said. “They are all important and sometimes it takes a little bit of encouragement, its scary to go do it, I will say it.”
Holding the women in your life accountable for this detection is something we can all do. Breast cancer is a battle that no woman deserves to endure.
While October is breast cancer awareness month, supporting those who are and were affected is important year round.