SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens discussed her ongoing battle with breast cancer with CBS2/KCAL9′s Michele Gile and how it has completely changed her outlook on life.
Hutchens said she’s been diagnosed with stage III cancer but her prognosis is very good.
“Stage III just has to do with the size of the tumor. It’s in my lymph nodes, on one side, and that’s what makes it stage III…doesn’t mean that it’s not treatable,” the sheriff said.
On Friday, Hutchens will go in for her fourth chemotherapy treatment and doctors tell her the tumor is shrinking.
The 57-year-old sheriff announced in November that she had found a lump in her breast. It was diagnosed as invasive ductal carcinoma, six months after her annual mammogram. She said she has no family history of breast cancer.
“It’s a shock. When you get told that day it takes your breath away. Then, the next thought in your head and the next question is: Is it curable? Am I going to survive?” she said.
The sheriff said she’s bought four wigs since chemotherapy has caused her to lose her hair. She’s also experiencing fatigue and loss of appetite. Despite all that, Hutchens said she feels “really good.”
Hutchens said she’s scaled back her workload, working eight hours a day instead of her usual 12-hour shifts.
“People say, ‘Gee, when are you going to go back to work?’ and I say, ‘I never left,’” the sheriff said.
“It has changed me as a person. It’s a blessing, in a sense, because I appreciate life. I don’t worry about the little things anymore,” she said.
Hutchens said she’s grateful for all the messages of love and support she’s received from loved ones and from the community.