Kim Johnson was nervous as she sat down at her dining room table in January 2015, clutching an unopened letter from the radiology department at Fleming County Hospital in Flemingsburg, Kentucky.
Breast cancer had killed Johnson’s mother years earlier, a painfully slow death that took a toll on her entire family. The prospect of that happening to her was all Johnson had been able to think about since she’d discovered a tender lump in her right breast weeks before, prompting her doctor to send her for a mammogram.
If she got sick, who would keep up with feeding the horses and chickens at the 101-acre family farm that she and her husband ran in northeastern Kentucky? Who would care for the three young children they’d recently adopted after raising five kids of their own?
Johnson, 53 at the time, says she ripped open the envelope, unfolded the letter, and began to read. She says her eyes fixated on four words in the first sentence: “no evidence of cancer.”
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