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Brooke Wagoner

Cancer Center Employee Shares Her Own Story to Help Others.
Brooke Wagoner, 34, is a cancer survivor who says her own experience battling cancer has helped her understand what her patients at the Kelsey-Seybold Cancer Center are experiencing.

Brooke is a medical assistant in the Kelsey-Seybold Cancer Center’s Infusion Center. She went to see her ENT doctor, Dr. Chen Xie, about sinus problems in late 2012. Together, they decided to remove her tonsils. A few days after surgery, Brooke was stunned to learn that a 1.5 mm tumor had been found under her right tonsil.

“I had no symptoms. This type of cancer is usually diagnosed in someone much older who smoked and drank their whole life, so I’m kind of an anomaly,” Brooke said.

A Caring, Knowledgeable Oncologist

Brooke’s cancer was identified as a stage 1 tumor. She immediately knew who she wanted as her oncologist.

“I knew I wanted Dr. Selvarani Nallusamy here at Kelsey-Seybold as my medical oncologist. All of our oncologists are excellent, and she’s a saint and a super doctor, in my opinion. I recommend her to anybody. I can’t say enough good things about her,” Brooke said.

Brooke underwent 33 radiation treatments to her neck. Swallowing became so painful she was unable to eat for three months, relying on shakes and smoothies to keep her body nourished. She was off work for four months and lost 10 percent of her body weight, but is back at work now, supporting other cancer patients.

Inspired by Kelsey-Seybold Cancer Patients

“I know the Cancer Center is where I’m supposed to be,” Brooke said. “I want to go to nursing school and continue working in the Cancer Center. I can’t say enough about our patients. Our patients are amazing and they inspire me to do better myself.”

Brooke’s back in the gym and enjoying fun times with her fiancé, family and friends. She’s looking forward to soon being able to start planning her wedding. She is also working on getting into a nursing program.

“I do worry about getting sick again, but I can’t, and won’t, let fear run my life,” Brooke said. “I view myself as a cancer surthriver.”