PA faculty member April Pope shares her breast cancer story

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Thank you April Pope, assistant director of clinical partnerships and associate professor of Physician Assistant Practice, for sharing your story.


“You have triple negative breast cancer,” is not what a healthy 43-year-old expects to hear, but one sunny, October day in 2013, that is exactly the news I received. At the risk of sounding cliché, that phone call would forever alter my life.

Having practiced family medicine as a physician assistant for 20 years, I had more baseline breast cancer knowledge than the average person did. I quickly learned that this can be good…and this can be bad.

As a busy full-time faculty member in the Campbell PA Program, and as an even busier wife of a cattle farmer, my life changed dramatically for six months. Aggressive chemo in the height of flu season meant that I would not be able to work with students (or animals), because of the risk of infection, that could be very serious for a person with a compromised immune system.

Little did I know that all of this “downtime” turned into a blessing in disguise. God uses circumstances to grow our faith, and that is exactly what happened. I was forced to BE STILL and know that GOD was in control. I must admit it was quite liberating (and surprising) to find out that I really could not control everything.

So remember, don’t sweat the small stuff… or the big stuff. If we have hair, or if we don’t. If we feel good, or if we don’t. None of these circumstances change the fact that God is in control, and He will direct your paths if you will yield yourself to Him.

As you can see by the picture, it wasn’t long before my hair grew back and I was able to take care of my animals once again! God is good. ALL of the time!