The last thing Laura Bateman expected after surgery earlier this year was the discovery of metastatic stage 4 cancer. Bateman said shortly after the surgery she started having pain and trouble breathing. After a trip to the emergency room and testing, it was discovered that she had blood clots in both of her lungs.
Laura Bateman was then informed that during the testing, doctors had discovered a spot on her lung and liver. A determination was made to biopsy the liver because it was the least invasive.
Three days after the biopsy, Laura Bateman received the news that it was metastatic stage 4 cancer. She was released from the hospital with medicines including blood thinners.
According to Laura Bateman’s husband, Daniel Bateman, pulmonary embolism is more prevalent in cancer patients.
At that point the Bateman’s began searching for treatment options. Both places they went gave an option of an alternating plan of immunotherapy and chemo for four months. The Batemans ultimately decided to go with Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Newnan, Ga.
“The facilities, everything is in the same building, well being, meal prep, everything in one building,” Daniel Bateman said. “That’s where she wanted to go so that’s where we started treatment. We went for three months and then they did a CT scan of the bones and also of her chest, abdomen and pelvis. The results of the bone scan were clean. The results of the other scans were more spots on her liver, reduced spot on her lung, and two lymph nodes compromised. The doctor said that under immunotherapy you can see inflammation before you see reduction.”
As a result, Laura Bateman’s treatment was then extended by two months. She is currently on week two of month four.
Laura Bateman says, “My faith and the prayers that everyone has been lifting up for me are what has seen me through.”
Laura Bateman encouraged anyone going through a similar journey to stay positive. “Try and stay positive, even if it is just the little things.”
Former teacher Janice Smith said, “She has a good support system.”
Laura Bateman said a good support system is huge. “That is huge, because I went through this before in 2002 as a single mom. I had a good support system then, too. It has just been such a blessing to have Dan and of course (the faculty and staff and Windham).”
“God has had me in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. They just have all been such a blessing,” she said.
Smith recounts the first few months of Laura Bateman’s treatment and the dedication and determination Laura Bateman demonstrated.
“The end of last year she was already feeling the pain and she pushed herself through. She was determined to finish out the school year and get her work done. She had an appointment scheduled right after the school year ended,” Smith said. “She probably could have gone a little bit earlier but she pushed through. She wanted to make sure that the children that she served got their services.”
The faculty, staff, and students at Windham Elementary have rallied to support Laura Bateman and her family. Friday, Oct. 11, was designated “Pink Out” day at Windham Elementary School. WES Principal Chris Mitten said, “We are a family. We love each other and take care of each other.”
“We really are a family,” Smith reiterated. “I retired the end of last school year and I keep coming back.”
“My sister in law is a breast cancer survivor. With October being Breast Cancer awareness month, (the faculty and staff) discussed we needed to do something,” Mitten said. “So, we decided that we would have a ‘pink out.’ Our teachers love to wear jeans, so on Wednesdays, if they wear pink, they can wear jeans, it is just a way to try and show support.”
Laura Bateman was in awe of the support she has received from her coworkers. “From day one they just opened their arms and took me in,” Laura Bateman said. “I’ve only been here a year and a half and they treat me like they have known me all my life. There’s not enough I can say about how supportive they have been.”
“One of the things that I have found interesting in this process has been that a lot of people have focused on her, but they still care about the needs of other family members,” Daniel Bateman said. “People do realize that family members have to take on more of a role. It has been great that a lot of people have asked about how to help. People have asked if we need help with meals or they will just show up at our house with meals. There are apps out there where groups can sign up to provide meals on certain days. It takes a load off.”
Laura Bateman has three grown children that are supportive and call her daily.
“They have been very supportive. They call everyday. My daughter is more emotional. She has a best friend that lost her mother to ovarian cancer. They are very glad that I am doing so well.”
Laura Bateman would like to return to work this year, according to Smith. “She keeps worrying about getting back this year. I told her she has to not worry about what happens. Mr. Mitten is making sure that the students are being served.”
“I am not used to not pulling my weight,” Laura Bateman said.
“We just want to make sure that you do not have to worry about here. We will cover until you get back,” Mitten said. “It’s not just me. It’s everyone at the central office and all of us here.”
“Our whole idea with Friday was that there are so many people that are praying. This was just an overt way to show support,” Mitten said.
Mitten said that anyone in the community that would like to help the Batemans can contact the elementary school office.