Josephine Kelly Cadwallader: Five-year survivor
Southsider Voice correspondent
Two of Josephine Kelly Cadwallader’s five sons accompanied her to that first appointment with the breast surgeon.
But her boys were much more concerned about the breast cancer diagnosis than she was, Cadwallader said.
“I just wasn’t scared about it,” she said with a shrug. “I didn’t think about dying. Ever.”
Along with such early detection, such a positive attitude proved to be Cadwallader’s best ammunition against the diagnosis.
There were no complications during or after the lumpectomy.
Although Mary Catherine, Cadwallader’s friend since childhood, occasionally tagged along and stayed in the waiting room while Cadwallader received radiation treatments, Cadwallader usually drove herself to and from the treatments.
When Lisa Kelly, one of Cadwallader’s five daughters-in-law, signed up to participate in a 25-mile marathon to raise money for breast cancer research, Cadwallader was humbled and thrilled.
“Bless her heart, she did the whole walk,” Cadwallader said with a smile as she shared an article written about her daughters-in-law tribute walk.
Of course, there have been painful moments in her life.
But overall, her life has been happy and filled to the brim with loving friends and family members. These days, she has even more reason to smile.
Earlier this month, Cadwallader celebrated her five-year mark for being cancer-free.
Near the couch in her Greenwood living room, she reached for a book filled with family faces.
Since 1987, she and her ever-growing family have made a trip to Florida, said Cadwallader while flipping through the pages.
The head count for these Southern excursions continues to rise.
Cadwallader, her sons, their wives and 10 grandchildren make the long haul to meet up with her sister’s family and her brother, who has six daughters.
“My mother and father started the tradition,” she said with a laugh. “It’s a fun thing for all of us.”
Her positive attitude and spunky outlook, mixed with a love for traveling and spending time with loved ones, makes Cadwallader view her bout with breast cancer as only a minor setback.
“I think I was pretty brave about all of it.”