From an early age I suffered pain and sensitivity in my breasts. I was told that this was due to the dense nature of the breast tissue. In 1997 I was diagnosed with atypical cells. My initial thought and question for my doctor was if I had cancer; he told me no, but that I should be vigilant.
Since my breast cancer diagnosis in July 2000 I became a strong advocate for breast cancer. At the time of my diagnosis, I worked for a surgical oncologist at the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. From the moment I was diagnosed, I knew too well what I was in for.....
I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Ductal Carcinoma In Situ just days after my 28th birthday. This diagnosis was startling as I was not even 30, had no family history of cancer, and no prior health concerns.
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer, in my case breast cancer, has been the most terrifying experience I’ve had to endure. The possibility of prematurely leaving my children, most importantly my little ones....
I have been battling metastatic breast cancer for 15 years, outliving an original prognosis of 6 months, have undergone several recurrences, surgeries, radiations, and chemotherapy protocols. While still in the battle, I can tell you that being a Survivor means taking a proactive role in one's healing.
In August 2003 during my yearly routine mammogram, a mass was discovered in my left breast. A biopsy was performed and the results provided me with a diagnosis of Ductal Carcinoma Insitu. In September, I had a lumpectomy followed by 33 radiation treatments and a 5 year prescription of Tamoxifen.
I was diagnosed in 2004 with Ductal Carcinoma In-situ at the age of 50. At 63 years young, September will mark my 13th anniversary of becoming a Breast Cancer Survivor. Breast Cancer was my second encounter with the BIG “C”. Back in 1985, at the age of 31, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease...
In June 2004, I was diagnosed with Stage III Breast Cancer, which required surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. After my recovery, I made a decision to take my story public and have since shared my breast cancer journey by becoming a prominent voice in the community.
Although the breast cancer diagnosis and treatment transformed 2005 into the worst year of my life, it has led to one of the best and most important times of my life. Breast cancer has taught me how truly blessed I am. My journey taught me how strong I am and how best to use my God given talents and tenacity to help breast cancer survivors and co-survivors around the world.
I thank God for holding my hand through this journey. I am thankful for my friend and my daughters’ godmother, Sharon Philip, for helping me and giving me strength when I was emotionally drained. I thank God for my mother, my pastors, and family because without them there would be no 11-year breast cancer survivor.