Adele Adams remembers all too well the nightmare of having breast cancer.
"I just wanted it to go away," said Mrs. Adams, the first woman elected to Thomson City Council.
Mrs. Adams' brother, Percy Dozier, had told her that she's the kind of person who thought if she didn't admit something was wrong, it would just go away.
Mrs. Adams said that for the better part of her life, she'd handled things like her brother described.
Ironically, that's how she first handled it when she discovered a lump in her right breast several months before she was forced to do something about it.
It wasn't until she entered her home on Glenn Stovall Drive one June afternoon in 1995 and began hemorrhaging that she knew something was terribly wrong.
Nevertheless, she didn't make an emergency call for an ambulance.
Instead, she phoned a relative who drove her to the emergency room of McDuffie Regional Medical Center in Thomson.
"I had known for a long, long time -- about a year, actually -- that something was wrong," said Mrs. Adams. "But I didn't tell anybody. I didn't want to find out and I didn't want anybody else to know what was going on, either. I felt like if I didn't tell anybody, it would just go away."
Mrs. Adams said that she didn't go to the doctor for annual checkups.
The bleeding is what prompted her to see a doctor.
"It made me have to do something," she said.
Later, Thomson surgeon Joe Wills, whom Mrs. Adams considers not only a fine doctor, but a friend, was consulted.
"He's performed three major surgeries on me," Mrs. Adams said.
"He's a wonderful surgeon who knows what he's doing. I trusted him and all the people at our hospital. It worked, because I'm still here at 88 1/2.
I laugh when I see him and tell him that he's mutilated me with all those surgeries. He tells me, 'You're a tough lady.'"
Before Mrs. Adams underwent cancer surgery, she had to endure six months of chemotherapy and radiation.
"They were trying to shrink the tumor as much as they could," she said.
She has been cancer-free ever since.
Mrs. Adams no longer feels the way she used to feel about going to the doctor.
In fact, she urges others to go today when they know something is wrong.
"If they know something isn't right, I'd recommend they'd go immediately to a doctor," she stressed.
"That was what I did wrong. That was my error; a big mistake."
Mrs. Adams, who worked at Hadaways Department Store in downtown Thomson for 18 years and as a bookkeeper and sales clerk before it closed, later worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. for nearly 20 years before retiring.
She raised a son, Logan Adams, by herself -- never remarrying after her husband, U.S. Army Sgt. Frank Logan Adams, died from injuries received in combat during World War II.
Her son is now retired from the Coca-Cola Co. in Atlanta and lives in Marietta.
She has two grandchildren, Heather Kilpatrick, who lives in Greensboro, N.C. and a grandson, Ryan Adams, who lives in Athens.
She also is blessed with a great-grandchild.
Mrs. Adams, who still drives herself to the grocery store and other places, is a member of Thomson First Baptist Church.
She joined the church in 1929. In past years, she has served as a youth and teenager Sunday Schoolteacher.