has a family
history of breast cancer and worked as
an oncology nurse. Still, for months,
she put off getting a mammogram.
Just days after finally finding time for
the exam, she got her diagnosis. “It’s
a sisterhood no one wants to join,”
Melina says. Fortunately, she had sup-
port from her co-workers, friends and
family. After getting genetic testing to
determine the best treatment for her,
Melina underwent a lumpectomy and
six weeks of radiation therapy.
Now, seven years later, Melina feels
that her treatment made her a better
nurse. “I have a lot more empathy
now and just feel like I’m here to give
others hope,” she says. “Patients need
to know that there is life after breast
had a pain
in her breast that wouldn’t go away.
When she went to her primary care
doctor, she was told it was nothing to
worry about. Yet four months later, the
pain was still there. That’s when she
pushed her doctor for a digital mam-
mogram. When the results came back
just minutes later, she learned she
had breast cancer.
“I was in shock,” she recalls. “There
is no history of cancer in my family.”
Being a nurse made the diagnosis
worse. “I knew the cancer was bad. I
was depressed, sad and angry.”
Doctors recommended Sayma
have a double mastectomy to reduce
her chances of cancer coming back.
In addition to surgery, she had six
months of chemotherapy. Through it
all, she continued to work. During her
recovery, her husband and brother-in-
law, both doctors, helped her focus on
the positives in her situation.
“You have to stay positive,” she says.
“I now thank God. He made me strong
enough to get through this. I’m glad I
can share my journey of hope and faith
to know that
there is life after
—Melina Thorpe, RN,
Director, The AIS
“You have to
—Sayma Salmon, RN,
Nurse, The AIS Cancer
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.