Age: 51 11_Michelle Brimberry
Profession: Pretrial Release Supervision Specialist Broward Sheriff Office
Type of Breast Cancer: Stage 2 Breast Cancer
Number of years as a survivor: 11 years
Relationship to Susan G. Komen: Race participant; Race Committee Member

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.

The day I was diagnosed with cancer, I fell to my knees praying. I asked God to help me because I didn’t want to leave my children alone. I was in a very painful and emotional state, I felt as if I was riding on a roll coaster that was never going to end. When I informed my family, they were shocked. I had been diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2001, the diagnosis of breast cancer was startling. We all had a hard time coping my diagnosis.

Even when I wasn’t, I felt alone. In the darkest moments, I called Sharon and my pastors for support. They allowed me to express my feelings, reassured me that my journey would soon be over, and reminded me they were there to help me regardless of the cancer diagnosis. I feel that without God and the support of my family I wouldn’t be here today. At times I wanted to give up, but the love and support from my relatives and loved ones kept me fighting.

I took a four month leave from work, which helped my healing process. During the many procedures and treatments, I felt ugly. My skin had gotten very dark, I was losing my hair, and my emotions were overwhelming. I never stopped taking my medication, but modified my lifestyle to include a natural and holistic approach to my healing. Through the long weeks of treatment, my pastors, Derrick and Lena Gillis, helped to heal my spirit, while the doctors took care of the cancer. To this day, I continue to exercise and follow doctor’s orders.

While on my journey I refused to give up hope. I refused to give up doing things with my children even when it was painful. Yet, my one nonnegotiable was to continue attending church. Being a Survivor means that God was a healer in my life. I have learned to be thankful for life no matter what I’m dealt with. I could have been gone a long time ago, but I am still here and determined to continue fighting. Today, I can truly say that I love life. Especially, when I am able to talk to those that are going through their battle, and give them encouragement.

After my treatment, I got a tattoo on the inside of my ankle of the word “Courage.” I look at the everyday. My life as a survivor will always be affected, but the courage and strength within is an amazing gift. I hope other women remember that life does not have to stop at the diagnosis!