A Tribute to Lynnetta - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/12/04

A Tribute to Lynnetta

You may remember Katie Hibdon. Her mom, Lynnetta, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30. On Wednesday, this update on Lynnetta, who's tried for two years to bring her disease into the spotlight in an effort to help other women.

It was 7-year-old Katie who came up with the Lynnetta Support Team, raising enough money to donate a bag full of videos so other patients like her mom would have good movies to watch while undergoing chemo at the cancer center.

Lynnetta was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer two years ago. She armed herself with medication every day, shots every week, and round after round of radiation. Fatigue was an obstacle, but her spirit was stronger as Lynnetta continued to lead Katie's Girl Scout troop.

But the battle was too great. When it seemed the cancer was gone, it instead ambushed the liver.

That's when Lubbock came together to send Katie's family to New York. A wish trip granted. More than $3,000 raised for the trip of a lifetime, and a surprise spot on the Today Show.

The trip to New York was a great escape, but Lynnetta found herself again and again at Arrington Cancer Center. Still, her mission was to warn other women.

"She told me, you know, if this, if my story can bring one woman to find an answer, hope all this would be worth it," says Lucio Dinunno, M.D., Lynnetta's oncologist.

So for Lynnetta, we repeat the warning signs, because a mammogram can miss inflammatory breast cancer since it usually grows in nests or sheets rather than a solid lump.

Symptoms can include:

  • An increase in breast size over a short period of time
  • Breast pain that is constant or stabbing
  • Thickened areas of the skin
  • The nipples may be flat or turned in
  • The breast may feel warm to the touch
  • Itching may seem relentless
  • Lymph nodes in the underarm may appear swollen

It is a disease that grows quickly and likes to spread.

"It just floored me after spending two to three hours with her, her parting comments. It was just so important, as if it were an assignment to me, to continue to raise awareness for this problem," says Catherine Ronaghan, M.D., Lynnetta's surgeon.

Lynnetta accomplished a lot in her last few weeks. For her continued leadership even during chemo, the Girls Scouts awarded her the first Lynnetta Hibdon Courage Award which will go to a special Girl Scout every year.

She was also surprised by Texas Tech officials who came to her house with a diploma. After being so close to finishing her doctorate, Tech awarded Lynnetta her Ph.D. in English Literature one week before her death.

Finally, before she passed, one more wish was granted. A Mother's Day gift that will change this corner forever -- trees -- a tribute to Lynnetta's strength, and a reminder to Katie that life goes on.

Dr. Lynnetta Hibdon, Ph.D
March 6, 1972 - May 11, 2004

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