The self-described “go-getter,” who travels to Dallas weekly for doctor visits, still makes it to the lake when she feels good, spends time with her children and enjoys the time she is given.
“No matter how tough it gets, I remind myself, God only gives us what He knows we can handle,” she said. “I could not have made it this far without the great support of my family, my friends and knowing God has never left my side.”
Those supporters can now help raise money for the 40-year-old Henderson resident by participating in a co-ed softball tournament. Funds from the tournament will help the single mother with living and medical expenses.
Ms. Thomas' journey with cancer began in May 2010.
The surgical dental assistant noticed her back hurt, and when the pain continued, she decided to go to the hospital. She said health workers looked at a variety of things, and the doctor came in the next morning and diagnosed her with stage 4 colon cancer. She was given less than six months to live.
“I was shocked because for the most part, most of my life, I've been healthy. I worked all the time and never felt sick or anything,” she said.
Her doctor kept her in the hospital for awhile, but she eventually started going to the Texas Oncology-Longview Cancer Center, where she did treatment until this past July.
However, she occasionally receives a call if the dentist office is shorthanded or if she is needed for a procedure or surgery.
She said her mother is her primary caregiver, and for the most part, she doesn't let her friends or other family members see her when she is sick.
“I don't want to be treated like I have cancer. I want to be treated like everybody else,” Ms. Thomas said.
Michelle Lewis, who has been friends with Ms. Thomas since third grade, said that's exactly how she looks and acts.
“She is a very, very, very giving person,” she said. “Even in the midst of all she's going through, right now she will still put others ahead of herself. She has a very good heart. … You would never know she's battling things.”
Besides her family and friends, Ms. Thomas said her pastor also has helped her along her journey, and the best thing he told her was, “We're all going to die. None of us know when.”
“Somebody that's perfectly healthy can die on the way to school. We all need to live each day to the fullest because we never know,” she said.
“I kind of try to look at every day. … Be positive for other people (and) let them know this is just cancer. … I just get up and go, 'OK Lord, let's get up and do what we need to do today.'”