March's Survivor of the Month: Angie Coggins

March's Survivor of the Month: Angie Coggins

CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - If you ask her closest friends, they would tell you that Angie Coggins is one of the most positive people around.

Even in the face of a breast cancer diagnosis, Tami Motley said Angie "always meets the new day with a smile."

Angie is a single mother of two, a Time Warner Cable employee and recently celebrated being five years cancer free.

At the age of 45, Angie had some health concerns, cancer was the last thing she expected it to be. "When you hear the 'C' word, things change," Angie said. "You imagine the worst."

But she says she still went to work the day she was diagnosed and decided to tell her coworkers about her cancer right away.

In August of 2010, she had her left breast removed and started treatments.

What was so devastating to Angie was that breast cancer felt personal. You could see that a part of her body had been removed. "It shows," Angie said remembering those days.  "Trying to live and look normal went out the window."

That next January she had her first reconstructive surgery.

Through those darkest times, Angie had a fortress of support around her. Her rocks. Her boyfriend, Aaron Medlin, gave her the loving pushes that she needed when she was throwing herself a "pity party". He stood by her side this past December when she had another reconstructive surgery.

She found emotional support and guidance from Michelle McClellan, a friend who lost her mother to cancer.

Angie's kids were teenagers when she was diagnosed, but they were some of her biggest cheerleaders. Her son's basketball team even turned their shoestrings pink in her honor.

And then there is Mom.  Angie will admit that her mother took a lot of the emotional heat during her treatment. She'll also be the first one to say that she doesn't know where she would be without her. "Moms are always at the top of the list."

Five years later, cancer affects her everyday, but she's not going to let it get her down.

Those coworkers that were there for Angie on day one have been by her side ever since and go out of their way celebrate her milestones.  There's a party and cake, naturally, but a pink shirt is passed around the office and signed for Angie. She says those shirts are too special to her to wear so she keeps them in a memory box.

It's those same coworkers who join Angie to walk in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Angie says there are just too many people to mention who helped her through such a tumultuous time. She says it was the little things that made the most difference, things like checking in on her or making her laugh.

She hopes she can be a source of help and hope for others going through tough diagnoses. Friends will call her if they know someone with cancer, looking for guidance, or call about their own battles with cancer.

To them, or anyone going through health issues Angie says, "Keep your chin up, don't let yourself get down. New advances are going out every day, just be positive."

And how does Angie suggest that you try to stay positive? "Don't jump the gun and assume the worst. Don't let your mind and emotions get in the way of reality. It will consume you," she advised. "Waiting is the hardest part. Don't Google. Listen to your doctors."

Angie's news about breast cancer came as such a shock because she had no known family history of breast cancer. She can't stress the importance enough when it comes to checking yourself and getting a mammogram. It was a mammogram that likely saved her life.

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