Peggy Kiefer

Grove Sun

When Lily Sonner went into her doctor’s office a year and a half ago, she thought he was going to tell her that her recent mammogram showed signs of scar tissue from a previous breast reduction surgery.

Unfortunately, that is not what he had to tell her.

They discovered a lump the size of a walnut.

“It must have been deeply embedded into my glands,” said Sonner. “Because I do self-exams often and couldn’t feel this lump” even after she knew it was there.

“It was a rapidly growing cancer because I have yearly exams but this one wasn’t detected last time,” she said. "If I would have had to wait two years for a mammogram, like they are wanting to change exams to, I would not have survived.”

Sonner began chemotherapy almost immediately and has since had two surgeries.

“Lily is a really brave woman,” commented Lindsey Weaver, who works in the lab at Integris with Sonner. “She worked through the whole thing. She’s a very Christian lady who put it in His hands and was able to fight it.”

“I never thought it would get the best of me,” said Sonner. “I just told myself to get up, put your big girl pants on, and went to work everyday. Most people didn’t even know I was fighting cancer and when I took my wig off, many thought I got a haircut.”

Sonner said she was really impressed with the Grove Hospital where she spent part of her time and in Joplin where she participated in a study.

“If I could go back to the day before I was told I have cancer, I would do it again. I wouldn’t want to miss the journey,” she said.

She wouldn’t want to do it again but wouldn’t want to miss the positive change it gave her on her outlook on life.

“It’s not about me anymore. Now I want to create good memories. It’s selfish, but I want to make people happy and see the smiles on their faces.”

In fact, she is taking her step-mom on a cruise because she doesn’t remember her ever having a vacation.

She is also more tolerant of others who are sick. It gives her the ability to better care for others who are sick, especially at work.

When she was first diagnosed with the triple negative (which means no response to normal treatment) she was amazed at what a wonderful caregiver her husband Fred was.

“God blessed me with a wonderful husband.”

Sonner has a favorite slogan now: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to end. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” The words so inspire her that she bought a fountain for her yard with the saying on it.