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2003 Calendar

2003 Calendar

Below you will find twelve more women who have experienced the depths of discovering breast cancer. They all have had those startling moments when the doctor confirmed that it was cancer. They have been through the surgery, the chemotherapy, the radiation…

But, they all also have celebrated the joys of survival. They tell their stories about their journeys on these pages.  

This year, the successes of each of these women, and others I meet, have personally been inspirational. You see, I have experienced unexpected twists and turns along this journey in 2002. After 11 years of living cancer free, the disease showed up again. This time, there was no lump that I could feel in self-exam. I had no breast after my first operation. This time, it was just a nagging discomfort in my side and I was tired.

Although I felt that ping of fear, I did not hesitate to contact my doctors. I have some wonderful medical experts around me who acted quickly. And, when I knew it was cancer, I submitted to their advice. So, I agreed to surgery and chemotherapy, uncertain, but surrounded by the love of many, many people.

I have had to stop work for a while. I truly miss getting up everyday and driving to the job. I’ve been tired. In fact, I save my energy some days so that I can be in my seat for the Hamden (CT) Legislative Council, where I am a Council Woman at Large.

I thank God for survival. It is so wonderful to be able to look back and say “we’ve made it.” Despite all the moments of surprises, all the tears of discovery, all the disappointments, we still survive. I know that friends and family support my survival. I find joy each step of the way in people I meet as I pull this calendar together. The twelve women featured here are truly my sisters. But more important, the twelve faces are signals that we anticipate more years of achievement and progress, success and survival.

I am very proud to present the 2003  Sisters’ Journeys Calendar this year – our fourth publication. 

Special thanks: to my good friend, Yvonne Cooper Watson who is always there no matter what the project; to my Mother, the relentless Phyllis West

Linda White Epps– Founder

Survivor Stories

Carmay Seaberry, January View My Story »

Carmay Seaberry

I am a happy native of New Haven, Connecticut, and I’m humble to be selected for the 2003 Sisters’ Journey calendar.

In September 1953, I had a benign cyst removed from my left breast. Although everything was perfect, I often wondered if I would develop breast cancer.

I schedule my annual mammograms each year in January, around my birthday. In January 2001 the mammogram report indicated further testing. A stereotactic biopsy was immediately done. Results showed cancer in my left breast. My specialists were excellent in explaining procedures and options. Their positiveness gave me courage. Because of my faith in God, the prayers from my church, family and friends, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be fine.

I had my operation on April 25, 2001. Thank God for my miraculous recovery! I received wonderful care from all my health care providers – Nina Horowitz, M.D., surgeon, Zeno Chicarilli, M.D., D.M.D., plastic surgeon of Yale New Haven Hospital, and Andrea Silber, M.D., Medical Oncology of the Hospital of St. Raphael.

Six weeks of chemotherapy are all behind me and I am happy to say I have been cancer free a year and a half. Praise God for my blessings.

Special thanks to my husband, Tucker, my son, Tyrone, and a dear friend, Fannie, for their support.

TO ALL OF US – A Path Of Faithfulness

We walked together on our journey, a path of faithfulness.

I stumbled, fell, and cried. But, you were there, Lord, at our side.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for all our medical crew in bringing us through.

We’ve survived, survived, and survived.

Oh! How the birds sing so naturally and our flowers are blooming just beautifully.

As we stroll through the park, let’s stop! And look around us, What do we see.

But a beautiful world, yes, a beautiful world for all of us,

 

Lucille Hill Williams, February View My Story »

Lucille Hill Williams

My name is Lucille Hill Williams. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and the fifth of nine children raised in South Carolina. I have lived and worked in New Haven for more than 40 years.

One evening in January 2000, while combing my hair, I felt a sensitive spot on the back of my head just above my left ear. The next morning, I noticed a lump about the size of a small egg right under my jawbone. At first, I didn’t think too much about it and I went on with my daily routine. When I arrived at work, I showed the lump to a friend. We concluded that it was probably just a swollen gland. However, a few hours later two more popped up on my neck. I went back to my friend and we decided it was time for me to see a doctor. The doctor recommended that I have a biopsy. All this happened on a Friday, so I had to wait until Monday, 72 hours later, to be told I had cancer – non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Of course, I was initially shocked. But it only took me a few seconds to put my thoughts together and decide to put my faith in God and my physicians. I would fight back and be a survivor.

I had six rounds of chemotherapy. During my treatment, I felt well every day. I added fresh fruit and vegetable juices to my diet and often walked home from the hospital. It took only four months for my cancer to go into remission.

After successfully completing chemotherapy treatment, I decided to retire. Now, I start my days with four to five mile walks. My time is filled with volunteer activities, bible classes, my flower garden, travel, and spending quality time with my great grandson.

It’s been over two years since I have been cancer free. I thank God, my doctors, family and friends for their continued love and support.

 

Carmen Delgado, March View My Story »

Carmen Delgado

The 1991-92 school year was my 23rd year working for the New Haven, Connecticut school system. During that year, I made a decision to retire.

In January, I filled out all the necessary papers. It also was time for my physical exam and a mammogram. Everything was normal and I was the happiest woman in the world. The joy didn’t last long. During the April vacation, I visited my daughter in Cleveland. I took my 9-year-old grandson with me. We visited Cincinnati for a couple of days and enjoyed our stay in a hotel. While we were having fun in the swimming pool, my grandson spotted a small lump above my right breast. I touched it and it felt like a small lump of fatty tissue. That, by the way, runs in my mother’s family.

When we returned I scheduled a doctor’s visit. A biopsy was done and the findings showed an aggressive cancer. A second opinion resulted in the same conclusion. Surgery was needed, and it was needed right away. But I waited until the end of June. There was much to be done for my students at the end of the year and I couldn’t abandon them.

All along, I felt the Lord would guide the surgeon’s hands during the surgery. As I hoped and prayed – everything went well. My daughter, Johanna, is a nurse and she dropped by every day to change my bandages. By September, the incision was healed and the chemotherapy treatment was scheduled to begin. Before starting the chemotherapy, I went to the CHCP Mental Health Clinic for their services. I was seen by a social worker that had undergone a lumpectomy. She recommended massage therapy that was very instrumental in her recovery. Having followed her advice, the massage and counseling helped me tremendously.

The Polly T. McCabe Center for Young Mothers needed a part time Guidance Counselor and I was hired. I’ll always be grateful for the understanding, care, and empathy of the staff.

It has been ten years since I started this long journey. The mammography is done on a yearly basis. Time is the best healer and takes care of the big change in our bodies that we confront every day. I am alive, enjoying my family and hoping the cure will come soon.

 

Elaine Martindale, April View My Story »

Elaine Martindale

I am a native of Bronx, New York. I moved to New Haven, Connecticut in 1954 with my husband, Giggy, and our two daughters, Stephanie and Celeste. Two more children were born in New Haven – a daughter, Loreen and a son, Giggy.

In March 1992, I went for my annual mammogram. A small mass was discovered in my right breast. Neither the surgeon nor I could feel any lump. He did a biopsy and it was malignant. My doctors said I did not need a mastectomy. A lumpectomy was done on April 30, 1992. More than half of the lymph nodes were also removed from under my arm. I had twelve chemo treatments (twice a month for six months) and eight weeks of radiation. Four years ago, in July 1998, my right arm began to swell due to lymphedemia. I now wear an elastic sleeve and receive Lymphatic Drainage Therapy once a month.

In March 2001, cancer was discovered in my uterus and I had to have surgery. But, thank God, it did not get into the walls so I did not need chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

My faith in God, my wonderful family and friends and a positive attitude help sustain me. Thankfully, I was never ill as a result of my chemotherapy and radiation treatment and God blessed me with doctors who were knowledgeable and reliable.

My motto in life, and my mother’s declaration to us growing up was: “By his stripes, I am healed.” I know that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me!

 

Tym Brennan, May View My Story »

Tym Brennan

I am a native of Thailand and am employed by Chase Bank. I am a graduate of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and hold a Masters degree from Fairfield University. I reside in Shelton, Connecticut with my husband, Bob. We have two daughters, Malissa and Kay.

The thought of contracting breast cancer never really entered my mind. There is no history of breast cancer in my biological family and I always thought that Asian women had a low rate of cancer. So, I thought I was safe. I didn’t realize the importance of having a mammogram done on a regular basis.

Last fall, I had my first mammogram done in three years. The radiologist told me there was evidence of pleomorphic microcalcification on my left breast and recommended a biopsy of the area. The result was ductal carcinoma.  I was shocked and frightened.

I met with Dr. Mary Pronovost, who explained my condition and scheduled me for a lumpectomy in November. I had a second lumpectomy done the following month as a precaution. In January, I underwent radiation therapy which left me tired and sore, but otherwise there were no complications.

I was very nervous when I went for my six-month followup mammogram, but was so relieved when the doctors told me there appeared to be no further problem.

In October 2002, I had my one-year anniversary mammogram and there was no radiographic evidence of malignancy.  Thankfully, all is well and I am cancer-free.

The most difficult part about being diagnosed with breast cancer is the fear and uncertainty that comes along with it. It is a condition that cannot be faced alone.

I’m most thankful that I have a strong family support group to help me through the crisis. My sister-in-law, Dr. Barbara Sager, was especially instrumental in helping me to decipher the medical terminologies and to understand my treatment options.

I also would like to thank Chase Bank

my employer, and my co-workers for their support and understanding through the difficult times.

I was so fortunate to have my mammogram when I did. The cancer was caught just in time before it could

 

Dorethea Daniley, June View My Story »

Dorethea Daniley

I am a 21-year cancer survivor. I initially discovered the problem in June of 1981. I awoke one morning to find a lump in my left breast. This was a result of self-examination. I went to see a physician. Immediately after he examined me, he recommended that I see a surgeon. I called my head nurse to give me the name of a good surgeon. She recommended Dr. Vazrick Mansourian. He knew how upset I was. He gave me an appointment immediately. He assured me it was a cyst.

I went to have it removed. When I went for my follow up appointment, he said it was a cyst. But then he told me he saw a mass and he biopsied it. The sad news – it was cancer. He advised me to get a mastectomy as soon as possible.

After a couple of weeks, my mother called me from North Carolina. Then, my doctor called to advise me to have a bilateral mastectomy. I cried, but decided to have it since I was having reconstruction. I thank God for the decision because I had cancer in both breasts.

I give thanks to Bishop H. D. Bordeaux, who was there when I was admitted into the hospital. His prayers took away all fears. Also, I was blessed to have my mother, then later Mother Glennie Mae Chambers who came up from North Carolina to sit with me day and night; also the late Pastor John T. Daniley Sr., all of my family and friends far and near. They gave me all their love and prayers.

Women, keep up your yearly doctor’s visits.  If trouble arises, it’s not how you will die with cancer, but how you live with the condition.

I give honor, glory, and all praise to God. I sought the Lord and he heard me and delivered me from all my fears. (Psalms 34:4)

 

Eleanor Alexander, July View My Story »

Eleanor Alexander

My name is Eleanor Alexander. I resided in Bridgeport, Connecticut for 40 years before moving to Shelton, Connecticut where I now live.

In August of 1999, after having my yearly mammogram, I was told I needed to have a biopsy on my right breast because there was a lump. After the results of the biopsy, I was told I had breast cancer. I was quite shocked. I felt quite powerless over it. I didn’t know what to do or what to say or what questions  to ask my doctor.

I put my faith, hope, and trust in God to see me through whatever I had to go through. He did.

I had a lumpectomy and had nodes removed. I then had five months of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of radiation.

I want to thank my family, friends, and brothers and sisters of faith for their prayers and support.

I urge women to do the monthly breast exam and to go and get that mammogram. I believe early detection is the best protection.

I am into my third year of recovery. I give God the glory, honor and praise.

I continually pray for all the women who will, who are, and who have gone through this.

Stay strong and take one day at a time. Enjoy your life and those you love.

 

Kelly Turner, August View My Story »

Kelly Turner

I am a resident of Hamden, Connecticut, although I am a New Haven native. I am a proud mother of one son, William J. Moore. My parents are James and Joan Turner. My siblings include my brother, James W. Turner, Jr., two sisters, Denise Brice and Michelle Turner, as well as three nephews and a niece. I am an 11-year veteran Police Officer in the city of New Haven. At age 37, I am also awaiting a precious gift – the birth of my first grandchild! My church home is Faith Center Church, Meriden, Connecticut, under Bishop Joseph and Lady Maddaline Norfleet.

On Saturday June 30, 2001, I was preparing to go to a conference when I discovered a large lump in my left breast while showering. This, I thought, was very strange. I didn’t notice it there the day before. Monday came and the investigation was launched to determine what it was. Ten days later, I had to have a mammogram and an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed not one, but three large lumps – two in the breast and one under the arm. The technicians advised that I see a surgeon.

Four days later, I met with a surgeon. He opted to do a biopsy right then and I submitted July 17, 2001. I received the call, one that would change my life forever. The diagnosis, cancer, in its third stage! I was devastated. What do you mean – I have cancer. Am I going to die?

On August 6, 2001, I began chemotherapy. I lost my hair after the first treatment and my body experienced tremendous pain and agony. Five months later, I had a radical mastectomy with reconstruction. Two weeks after surgery, I received radiation therapy, every day for six weeks.

This journey in the diagnosis of cancer was a test of my faith in God. Today, I live to say that I trust him even more now than I did before and I know him to be a healer. He healed my body. It is a life altering process to be diagnosed with cancer. But, God has promised me life and I believe him.

During my illness, members of the Police Department and friends were very instrumental in seeing that I had financial aid. I have been moved by so many acts of kindness and understanding, received first hand. I have experienced the effects a cancer diagnosis has on every aspect of one’s life. I am establishing an organization called “The C.H.A.I.N. Fund” (Compassionate Hands Assisting Interim Needs). This fund will provide financial aid for cancer patients, while they undergo strenuous treatments that prevent them from working. This usually results in their income being

 

Elsie Bright, September View My Story »

Elsie Bright

My name is Elsie Bright and I live in Hamden, Connecticut. My husband and I have been married for thirty-seven years. I have two daughters, two sons, and eleven grandchildren.

I had been performing self-exams regularly. I had this nagging ache at the top of my left breast. But, at the time, my mother was suffering from stomach cancer. I put my pain on hold for three years. When my mother passed away, I noticed that nagging ache again. So, I decided to have it checked out.

After I had a biopsy performed in 1986, I was now known as a cancer patient. The cancer was removed. I went through chemotherapy and radiation therapy. After that, I was found cancer free for ten years.

In 1996, cancer returned in my right breast and I’m still dealing with breast and lung cancer.

But, with God’s help as always, this too will become a part of my past. As with all

 

Rosa Kendall, October View My Story »

Rosa Kendall

My name is Rosa Kendall and I am a resident of New Haven, Connecticut. I have two daughters, three sons, and eleven grandchildren.

In May of 2001, I went in for my annual exam, which included my yearly mammogram. The results were sent to my doctor and she noticed an abnormality. She called me in for a biopsy. Two weeks later, she called me at work and told me that it was breast cancer. It was the most devastating day of my life.

At first, I couldn’t talk to anyone about it and I didn’t even want my children to know. But, a couple of weeks later, I spoke to my friend, Maxine McClam, and she really helped me a lot. Since she had been diagnosed with breast cancer a few years earlier, she helped to convince me that I shouldn’t be going through this alone.

I didn’t want to tell my children, but she helped me to see that I needed their love and support now, more than ever. Telling my children was the hardest thing that I ever had to do. But, I did it and, with their love and support, my lumpectomy was scheduled for the end of May. After my surgery, I went through eight weeks of radiation treatments.

It has been a year since I had the surgery and I am still afraid that something may go wrong. But I just trust in the Lord that everything will be okay. And, with the love of my friends and family, I believe that I am going to be just fine.

 

Corris Smith, November View My Story »

Corris Smith

I am a New Haven, Connecticut resident employed by the Hospital of St. Raphael. I am the mother of one child.  Her name is Melody.

In March of 1996, I noticed that I was having trouble sleeping on my stomach. My breast felt uncomfortable. I have done self-breast exams for years and found nothing.

One day getting out of the shower, I decided to lay on my side and examine my breast from under my armpit and work my way around. That’s when I found the lump on the left side of my breast. I called my doctor and told him I needed to have a mammogram. After the mammogram, the radiologist did an ultrasound. He suggested that I see a surgeon right away.

When you are going through major events in your life, I believe the Lord sends angels to help you. Dr. T. Ponn was one of them. She performed my Lumpectomy for what she said was an aggressive type of cancer. She referred me to Dr. Silber who suggested I needed six months of chemo and six weeks of radiation. Everyone at the Hospital of St. Raphael cancer center was very caring.

Through my treatment, my mother and sister took care of my baby all day, bringing her home at night, after being feed, washed and in pajamas, ready for bed. I thank God for my family and co-workers who helped me through.

To all my angels, I thank you.

 

Sharon E. Stroman, December View My Story »

Sharon E. Stroman

My name is Sharon E. Stroman and this is my story. I’m proud to say that I’m a breast cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on September 11, 2001. While the world witnessed the worst terrorist attack in United States history, I had my own terrorist attack going on within me. I currently reside in Bridgeport, Connecticut with my wonderful husband of 18 years, Michael, and my 17 year old son, Tyrell. I’m a native New Yorker, but my heart is in Bridgeport. I’m also a 20-year veteran of the United States Army and am anticipating retirement.

I had a suspicious lump for at least nine months prior to my diagnosis and, deep down inside, I knew something was wrong. My doctor kept telling me that I had fibrocystic breast and that I really shouldn’t be concerned. Well, here I sit today – 38 years old and wondering what I did to deserve this. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Carcinoma. The size of my tumor was four centimeters and my surgeon found another lump, after careful examination.

My surgeon recommended a mastectomy to remove all my breast tissue in order to avoid any future problems. I was devastated. This wasn’t supposed to happen to me. From that day forward, I vowed to be strong and fight because I refused to let this be the last chapter in my book.

In November of 2001, I had a mastectomy. Then, in January 2002, I started four cycles of chemotherapy and a month after that nine weeks of radiation. I had the best team of doctors that I could ever ask for. I’ve struggled to make a comeback to somewhat of a normal life. Today I’m living another day due to my family, friends, and doctors and I would like to give thanks for all the care and concern I’ve received. If I had a message to give to everyone out there it would be “early detection and second opinion.”

 

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