A Breast Cancer Survival Story
"I was diagnosed on my 45th birthday (12/27/2012.) I had a mammogram that year on December 19th, and shortly after the test, my breast was sore and I felt a lump, so since the holidays were coming, I called them at George Washington University Mammovan and asked if there was any way they could review my test results before the holiday. They put me on hold. A doctor picked up, and asked where I felt the lump.
"The doctor confirmed that she saw 'something' on the X-ray in the location I described, and asked me to come in. My appointment was on December 27. I took my husband, mother, daughter, sister-in-law, and niece - my whole support crew.
I already knew. I felt it in my soul.
"They took us into a room with several computers, and on each screen they had my X-ray results for the last four years. I had skipped the year before, which made a difference in my treatment. That's why I encourage early detection.
She explained what we were seeing. All of the previous X-rays were clear and the new one showed a huge black mass in the exact location where I felt the lump.
My tears began to flow. The family stood strong, but I was petrified! She then told us that I would need to get a biopsy to confirm, but in my heart, I already knew. That was the beginning of my journey.
"I feel like I have purpose now and I am more in touch with my spiritual side. I am 'living' now. I was a young mother and married young, so much of my life was about doing for my kids and husband. We were just surviving, not living. I was raised in the church, and believed in God and had my faith, but now it was time to put it to practice.
"Everything that had been poured into me all my life from my grandmother, mother, pastors was about to be used. I leaned on everything I was taught about faith, every sermon, every scripture I memorized as a chid became a reality. Fighting cancer is a true faith walk.
"I realized, I had a testimony and I couldn’t sit on it. There were small miracles happening each day during my journey that I couldn’t make up and I had to share.
God and the Universe were working in mysterious ways. I had an opportunity to save lives, teach, and inspire. Social media gave me the platform to share my story.
I started using social media to keep my friends and family informed, but it just blossomed into an outpouring of love and support. And it connected me with other fighters who inspired and encouraged me.
"Life now is all about the New Normal. That means that although I am considered NED (no evidence of disease), I always have to be aware of any changes with my body. Recurrence might be a reality, and we just never know.
I just recently had my last checkup with my oncologist since I am seven years out. So now I must be aware of everything with my body. I try to eat well, move my body and take care of my mental state which is the most important thing to me.
"Fear is real and its okay, but early detection is the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones. You owe to yourself to know what is going on with your body.
"With the onset of social of media, breast cancer awareness has taken on a life that is much bigger than one month each year. It gives people a safe space to share their fears, their bravery, their journey. It allows people to see Survivorship and understand that not all cancer is a death sentence as we thought for years.
Breast Cancer can touch anyone: men, women, young, old, black, white. It doesn’t care. It allows thrivers from all over the world to connect and find support."