DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - A North Texas woman took her battle against breast cancer public, allowing the world a front row seat in the operating room while doctors perform her lumpectomy.
Before heading to the hospital today, DeSoto resident Sonia Johnson spent a lot of quiet time with her family. But this morning the 50-year-old will be seen by the world as she undergoes breast cancer surgery live on Facebook.
It was last December when, during a routine visit to the doctor, Johnson found out she had a tumor on her breast. It was in that moment that she became determined to use faith and positivity to beat a disease that affects one in eight women.
"It's an emotional journey, but you can't sit," she said. "You've got to be mentally ready to walk this journey. It's a fight, it's a fight all the way."
Johnson found she's not alone in her fight and has gotten scores of supportive messages from breast cancer survivors -- forming a sort of sisterhood. She says sharing her journey on Facebook is one way she can help others fighting the same battle.
Breast surgical oncologist Allison DiPasquale, MD, will be performing the surgery. She spoke about her admiration for Johnson when talking with CBS 11 News. "This patient is courageous, she's amazing. She's putting her body out there for people to say, 'Wow, I'm going to go get my mammogram and I'm going to make sure I don't have cancer.'"
Johnson said she hopes that by sharing her experience online others will get a better understanding about one of the breast cancer treatments available.
"Other people paid it forward before me and now I'm pushing it and paying it forward for somebody else," she said.
During Johnson's procedure, doctors will go through her armpit to remove her lymph nodes and cancer through the same incision and when the surgical gloves and gowns are gone Johnson plans to join that sisterhood of breast cancer survivors.
"I will be able to say 'I had cancer'. Right now I say I have cancer. Tomorrow [it will be] I 'had' cancer."
Breast surgeons and radiation oncologists will be in the operating room during Johnson's lumpectomy to answer questions from Facebook users in real time.
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