WALTERS, OK (KSWO) -A Cotton County sheriff's deputy has been diagnosed with an aggressive and difficult to treat form of breast cancer, and is leaning on her law enforcement family for support.
Brooke Stranahan was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer on New Year's Eve. Her type of breast cancer is curable with chemotherapy and radiation, but has a high rate of re-occurring within the first five years.
Stranahan has been with the sheriff's department for about three years, and is also a loving mother to five children, all of which are under the age of 12.
After finding a lump on her breast while doing a self-exam, she went to the doctor for a mammogram and later had a biopsy that came back positive for cancer.
Stranahan says this is just the start of a battle that she is determined to win, even though it is a battle that she never expected to have to fight.
"I didn't actually until they told me. You kind of see yourself as being invincible you know. I didn't expect that at all. Not at my age," she said.
Stranahan says after getting the call from the doctor telling her she had cancer, her first thought was of her children.
"You know, because they are so young and I didn't know how I could not see them grow up or them having to grow up without me," she said.
Stranahan says the doctors at OU Medical Center told her that her type of cancer is curable because it has only spread to her lymph nodes at this point. She says being a deputy and her husband being a Walters police officer has taught her that law enforcement is one big family.
"It means a lot. The law enforcement community…they are strong and backing each other up. I mean, it is just like brothers or sisters and that is the way we treat each other," she said.
"When we found out about it, it was a pretty devastating hit. I mean, it really knocks the wind out of your sails," Cotton County jail administrator Bobby Sparks said.
Sparks says he knows that Stranahan is a strong woman. He says being a deputy, you see things that people should never have to see.
"You experience people at the worst times of their life and it's really fulfilling and really awesome to see you know the blessing of the lord come down and really help somebody out when they are in need," Sparks said.
Stranahan says her diagnosis has completely changed her perspective and what she holds as important in life.
"There's times where you feel like you are just too tired and the kids want to play, especially with five of them. I don't miss a chance to do any of that. To tell them I love them. Time is way more precious now," she said.
Stranahan starts chemotherapy on Thursday. She will travel to OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City once every two weeks for chemotherapy treatments for the next four months.
Stranahan will be unable to work for four months while undergoing treatment.
A fundraiser for the Stranahan family has been set for Feb. 28 at Texas Night Life located at 1619 Archer City Hwy in Wichita Falls, Texas. Doors open at 11 a.m. You can also make donations directly to their GoFundMe page.