Kendralinn Dunning says her faith is what has helped her through a rough journey with cancer.
After a biopsy came back positive for breast cancer in March 2018, Dunning began 5½ months of chemo treatment right away.
A short time after the chemo treatment was completed, the 41-year-old Camas Valley woman had a double mastectomy at the Community Cancer Center in Roseburg. After that, she started a few months of radiation treatment.
“Then I had a complete abdominal hysterectomy because my breast cancer was estrogen-driven. So any of those parts, I just didn’t want to chance having a reoccurrence,” Dunning said. “So I just opted to have everything removed.”
Through the grueling process, Dunning relied on her faith in God to help her get through it.
One particular encounter along the way turned out to be a big influence in helping her through a tough time. One song kept popping up at timely moments.
“The very first time I heard it, I had just found out I had cancer and I hadn’t started treatment yet. I was on my way home from a friend’s house and it came on the Christian radio,” Dunning said. “The second I heard that song it spoke to me, it was just exactly how I felt.”
The song was “You Say” by Lauren Daigle, and the lyrics really hit home.
That was a Saturday night and she listened to the song several times so she could sing it in church the next day. Then Sunday morning she got ready to go to church.
“I started my car and that song was on the radio again,” Dunning said. “I just read into things like that, that’s just my belief, I wholeheartedly believe in God and I think those things happen for a reason.”
For about a year, that song continued to be important in her life, and in 2019, she went on a women’s retreat at Lake Bradley near Bandon. During worship on a Saturday night, the choir began to sing.
“And guess which song (they) started singing, as I sat down, I look at (my friend) and I just bawled, and then she lost it because she knew exactly what I was thinking,” Dunning said. “I knew at that moment that I was exactly where I was supposed to be.”
Dunning continues to go to her regular doctor appointments, and so far everything looks good.
“I am 100% cancer-free for the last year,” she said. “And I was going to get reconstruction surgery, but it got postponed from all of the coronavirus stuff that’s going on.”
Now she’s getting ready to have that operation done and hopes it will be the final surgery.
Dunning’s sons, 17-year-old Wyatt and 6-year-old Conner, both attend Camas Valley Charter School, and both have been supportive for Dunning through the cancer ordeal.
“They’re just wonderful, I have the best boys,” Dunning said. “I could not have done this without them.”
Dunning is home on temporary disability, but she has decided she’d like to become a nurse and would love to work for the Community Cancer Center because it has been such a positive impact on her.
She has some advice for other women going through breast cancer treatments.
“Self advocate, do not take ‘everything is OK’ for an answer, if you feel like something is wrong, then you need to be confident and search for answers,” Dunning said.
Dunning said she spent nearly every Monday through Friday at the Cancer Center for months. When she really needed help, Douglas County Cancer Services stepped up and offered aid for rent multiple times. She received gas cards and grocery cards, wigs, and always had somebody to talk to when she was waiting to get blood drawn — which was often.
“The women there were fabulous,” Dunning said. “I’m just grateful because those services literally got me through what could have been the worst time of my life, but along with God and all the things He did for me, I have these people that have come into my life and made it possible for me to not feel as bad in an otherwise really horrible time and that’s what the Cancer Services did for me.”
Dunning will be the guest of honor at the Douglas County Cancer Services’ 7th annual “Get Tee’d Off at Cancer” fundraising golf tournament Saturday at the Roseburg Country Club.
All money raised from the tournament will go to help cancer patients in Douglas County.
For information about DCCS services call 541-440-9409.