Lawyer Rebecca Edwards Is Ball Honoree

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Rebecca Edwards and her husband celebrate Mardi Gras.(Photo: Special to The Times)Buy Photo

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What a heady year the 2016 Shreveport Bar Association President-Elect Rebecca Edwards had scheduled for 2013-2014.

She and her husband, Caddo Assistant District Attorney William Edwards, had just celebrated her 44th birthday in London.

She was destined to be a royal — a 2014 duchess for SBA’s Krewe Justinian, celebrating its 20th anniversary.

But, in September 2013 — what she thought would be one of the best years of her life — events took a bad turn.

“I was diagnosed with Stage IIIA breast cancer,” said Edwards, during a interview in her office on the third floor of the 2nd Circuit Building. She is law clerk to Judge James Stewart of the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, where she reviews appeals and helps draft court arguments.

Referring to Krewe Justinian, Edwards remembered, “Just as coronations got underway, I found out that I had cancer and had to have surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy and radiation.” Reconstruction came later.

Although it was not the way she planned to serve and celebrate, and with wigs on her head while undergoing chemotherapy, Edwards did fulfill most Justinian commitments — except the glamorous ball. “It was so overwhelming. I just did not know how I would be feeling,” she explained.

“I did attend the royalty dinner and wore a wig. Everyone was very nice, welcomed me and wanted to know how I was doing,” recalled Edwards, about the glamorous dinner.

Cancer free today, Edwards shares her story because on Aug. 22, she will be the belle of the ball as “honorary chair” for American Cancer Society Cattle Baron’s Ball.

“The honorary chair is a cancer survivor who has had large impact in the community and with the American Cancer Society,” said Rachel Stern, community manager special events for the society.

Edwards is pleased to help in the fight against cancer.

“I felt I had to do it. The American Cancer Society is a great cause and I had gotten information from them after the first diagnosis,” she said.

“It also provides a platform for me to share my experience in the hopes that it will be of some help to others who are facing a cancer diagnosis.”

The honorary chair’s role is to help put the event together as a member of the planning committee and to greet people at the ball, explained Stern.

In 2014, the society served 690 cancer patients in northwest Louisiana with some 1,400 free programs and services, said the ball invitation.

Edwards said her diagnosis wasn’t a sudden surprise.

As recommended, she had an annual mammogram which was negative.

Afterward, there was an appointment with one physician for a breast examination. Especially, she said, because her breasts are dense.

The physician found nothing unusual.

In the meantime, Edwards, 46, was dealing with another health issue for which she had surgery in New Orleans and which was not cancerous.

It was only after that was taken care of that she started fresh and went to see another obstetrician-gynecologist.

That obstetrician-gynecologist, who is thorough about such things, couldn’t feel a lump either.

But, all felt there was something there. Something was not right.

Edwards was referred to a local surgeon, who after a test — “similar to a sonogram,” said Rebecca — made the diagnosis which changed Edwards’ life.

“A biopsy made it certain,” she added. “I just knew I had breast cancer and I wanted it out.”

“We were both devastated,” said her husband of almost 19 years and who she fell in love with at LSU Law School. He tries rapes and murder cases for the district attorney’s office.

To help handle his emotions, William began researching. “I didn’t know what to expect and was trying to figure things out,” he said.

Although William continued to work off and on throughout his wife’s treatment, he is grateful that his supervisor at the time, the late Caddo District Attorney Charles Scott told him, “Take care of your wife.”

The tumor was solid and eight centimeters, triple positive for hormone and HER2, said Rebecca, summing up in layman’s terms a complicated diagnosis.

“It was a very aggressive type of cancer,” continued Rebecca, who talks in a calm, collected manner and with candor about her experience with breast cancer. After the surgery, she was obsessive about asking her husband, “Are you sure they got it all?” He promised he wouldn’t lie to her.

“Recovery took six weeks, and chemo started at the end of October in 2013,” Rebecca recalled.

“I was sick after every treatment. Very sick,” she continued.

There were six treatments every three weeks.

Radiation at the end of February.

Reconstruction in August 2014.

She is still dealing with lymphederma, a condition which causes fluid build-up in the arms after removal of lymph nodes.

“It is something hard to find treatment for. Doctors don’t focus on it. I’d like to see more information on how to prevent it,” said Rebecca.

Although the anxiety has subsided, Rebecca admits she had a difficult time dealing with it all and did talk to a therapist.

Help also came from a priest she visited on a regular basis. “That made a difference.”

“I also go to church pretty regularly,” she added.

“I thought constantly of dying, that mortality was more imminent,” Rebecca said.

And although she didn’t do much of anything during her treatments, she did enjoy Justinian events. “They were a respite from reality,” she said.

William feels the toughest time for his wife was the chemotherapy, especially the first day when she was so sick, they had to return to the doctor’s office for medicine.

Today?

“Basically, there is no indication of cancer,” answered Rebecca.

She talked talked during an interview in her office, where stacks of appeal documents overflowed on a mauve leather, nailhead-trimmed chair, and where art prints decorate the walls.

While, it isn’t a corner office, windows fill it with light. From her desk, Edwards can look down on historic Trinity Heights Catholic Church, up to the Beck Building and Mid-South Tower and can see a slice of Caddo Courthouse where her husband William works.

Close to the end of her treatment, William came home to a “for sale” in their yard.

“I wanted a fresh start. We had discussed moving for years ... Within a month our house (in Broadmoor) was sold,” said Edwards.

The couple now live in southeast Shreveport.

“It was a fresh start, new perspective as I neared the end of my treatment,” explained Edwards.

She planned for 2015 to be a year of laying back, taking it easy.

“But within the same week, I was asked to serve as the Shreveport Bar Association vice president and honorary chair for the Baron’s Ball,” Edwards said.

“So, I jumped right back into things.”

Rebecca has been active in the association for several years, serving as Women’s Section president and secretary-treasurer.

Next year, she will be SBA president-elect, becoming president in 2017 and is also a member of the Red Mass Society. She is Justinian’s Consul of the Treasury.

Through the years, she has been involved in several organizations, including St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

But, with new cowboy boots just purchased at Cavenders and jeans teamed with a new top, Rebecca will be in the spotlight at Baron’s Ball Aug. 22.

Because, you see, she is still fighting breast cancer along with the American Cancer Society.

For her fellowman.

If you go

What: American Cancer Society Cattle Baron’s Ball.

When 6:30 p.m., Aug. 22 at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, 8000 East Texas, Bossier City.

Honorary Chairwoman: Shreveport Bar Association President-Elect Rebecca Edwards.

Live country Music: Hipshot.

Dinner: Silver Star Smokehouse and texas Street Steakhouse caters.

Dress: Western-best.

Texas Ranger Sponsor: Harvey Subaru.

Special Note: $25 donation. Reserve a Star of Hope in memory or in honor of a loved one touched by cancer. It will be displayed in the Stars of Hope Dedication Area at the ball.

Admission: $125, individual; $250, Patron Sponsor; $1,250, Table Sponsor; and $225, Patron, or $1,125, military discount.

Information: 219-1668. Web site: baronsballshreveport.org.

What can I do to help someone going through cancer treatment:

1. Listen when he/she needs to talk.

2. Plan a fun outing when the friend is up to it. Keep things as normal as possible.

3. Help with meals, whether preparing something or providing a restaurant gift certificate, when the friend is having active treatment or surgery and not up to doing much.

4. “One of the nicest things someone did for me was to pay a housekeeper to do a couple of hours of housework when I was recovering from surgery.”

(Source: Breast cancer survivor /attorney Rebecca Edwards.)

Up close and personal with Rebecca Edwards:

Favorite entrée: Oysters–fried, grilled, etc.

What I order to drink: Amaretto sours.

Favorite junk food: My homemade chocolate chip cookies.

One thing I will absolutely not eat: Shrimp.

If I could invite 10 people, living or dead, fiction or real, in all of history, who would they be: “Some of my favorite women, famous and infamous from fiction and reality: Cleopatra, Catherine the Great, Queen Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth Bennett from “Pride and Prejudice, Scarlett O'Hara, Martha Stewart, Martha Washington, and Anne Shirley of “Anne of Green Gables.”

Where would we eat: Galatoire's in New Orleans

Three things I would take to a desert island: Satellite phone, water, a survivalist.

Biggest issues facing the world today: Terrorism, economic uncertainty, extremism in all forms.

I am giving a speech to a class of 18-year-olds. The theme of my speech: “Be happy, be adventurous, and be kind.”

If I were given a chance to leave tomorrow anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would it be and why do I want to go there:

“A tour of the British Isles. I love the history, the architecture, and the idea of it from literature and movies. A prior visit to London made me want to see more!”

This is source I found from another site, main source you can find in last paragraph

Source : http://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/life/2015/08/12/lawyer-rebecca-edwards-ball-honoree/31527297/

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