July 2016: Meet Vere, a survivor who wants you to stay healthy, too
Old friends and acquaintances who know Vere's medical history often ask her how she's feeling. Now going on 24 years cancer-free, her health and health of friends and family are top of mind.
"They ask, 'How are you doing? Are you OK?' " Vere says. "I say, 'I'm fine. I have yearly checkups.' And I ask them, 'How are you doing?' "
Vere, a Hamilton native whose name is pronounced vuh-REE, is unofficially known as the administrative air traffic controller in our Clifton office. Back in 1991, though, just two years into her first job at TNMP and with two children under age 7, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It later spread to her liver.
'I worked through it all'
This space can't do justice to her 20 months of discomfort, fear, hope and prayer. But it included two sets each of chemotherapy and radiation, followed by a bone marrow transplant and aggressive chemo treatment.
"That's a miracle that God's given me – that I'm here today," Vere says.
Except for the bone marrow procedure, which required a month in the hospital and six weeks of recovery, Vere rarely took time off.
"I worked through it all," she says. "I'd have radiation in Waco at 8 in the morning and then go off to work."
Talking about difficult topics
These days, amid entering customers' electric service requests, tracking budget and helping linemen keep payroll hours organized, Vere is very open with friends and colleagues about her medical history.
Whether it's testing for breast cancer for women, prostate cancer for men (which took her father) and watching for other maladies that all-too-often can affect those around her, Vere focuses on health and wants you to do the same – from eating right to exercise to regular checkups.
She got to see those two children grow up and, with her husband, Scott, has three kids total. Now Vere has two grandchildren – "and we're praying for more."
"When someone talks about birthdays, I remember that I really didn't know if I'd see 30," she says. "… They tell me I'm looking good. I say, 'Well, thank you – I'm feeling good.'" .