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2011 Calendar

2011 Calendar

Dear Friends:

Welcome and thank you for joining us at the 12th unveiling of the Sisters’ Journey breast cancer survivors’ calendar. Today we will introduce you to another 12 extraordinary women.

When I look at the past years, the word “evolution” just keeps popping in my head – how the organization has evolved so much over the years… we are featuring younger survivors and more newly diagnosed survivors. I can’t help but think that we may have had something to do with that through our many educational programs advocating for early detection and state of the art treatment.

With the passing of both a very dedicated survivor, and a founding board member, it is clear to me that Sisters’ Journey continues to learn so much from those we lose as well as from new people we meet. This year’s two loses touched us deeply and will continue to touch us for many years to come; however, our grief will drive us to advocate even harder and to educate and support our community.

The first loss was that of a young survivor named Nancy Horner. Nancy was the mother of two. She was introduced to us by her aunt, Toni Dunstan (herself a breast cancer survivor), and comes from a family with a history of breast cancer. When Nancy came to us, she was struggling with a recurrence of breast cancer. She came to the meeting with lots of questions and was very hopeful. She was so excited to attend our first Mother/Daughter Brunch and looked forward to attending the second. The reason she makes me think of how we are evolving is because for so long our support group meetings were attended by women who seemingly were in good health and just trying to cope with the aftermath of their treatment journeys. Nancy introduced us to what has become a different type of support: Support for a survivor in the midst of their battle – a different type of nurturing.

The second loss is extremely personal for me – my grandmother, Phyllis W. White. Her loss felt like the end of an era for Sisters’ Journey. Phyllis was the last of the foursome that started the organization. She did not have breast cancer; rather she was a Caregiver – a title she wore very proudly. She lost both her daughter and sister from the disease.

Phyllis, affectionately known as Meme, was the first Board President of Sisters’ Journey after incorporation and the biggest advocate of survivors and early detection that I know. Besides continuing her daughter’s legacy by keeping Sisters’ Journey going and incorporating the organization in 2004, she also volunteered for the American Cancer Society, went to South Bend Indiana to learn about clinical trial opportunities and, along with some dedicated survivors, spoke at Common Grounds High School. She felt that it was important to teach young women about self- advocacy and health awareness. It is because of her commitment, dedication and perseverance that we are giving four scholarships a year in remembrance of our founding members.

As we evolve and move forward, some faces may change, and there may be some new ideas, but the vision has remained the same. We will continue to use our collective energies and join forces with others to heal women physically and spiritually. Advocating for early detection and good treatment will be our core focus.

And we will continue our journey forward into the next era with our next set of calendar women.

Thank you for continuing this journey with us!

Sincerely
Dawn White-Bracey

Survivor Stories

Fahtima Hasan, January View My Story »

Fahtima Hasan

Greetings!

I am Fahtima Hasan, born and raised in Connecticut. I am the middle of three children and have a 14-year-old daughter. I attended Norfolk State University, Norwalk Community College and Gibbs College.

The date was Sunday, December 13, 2009 – my birthday – and I was preparing myself to go out for dinner with my significant other. When I was done showering, I decided to do a quick self-breast exam. Normally, I don’t keep up with my monthly self-breast exams, but on this particular day I felt compelled to do so. I felt a lump in my right breast and immediately called my significant other to confirm. He felt the lump also.

I didn’t let it dampen the moment because (1) it isn’t characteristic of me to let much get me down; (2) I knew my parents were expecting me for dinner; and (3) it was a very rainy and gloomy day to begin with and I didn’t want to upset anyone. When we arrived at the restaurant, I was surprised with more unexpected family and friends. It was a fun time!

The very next morning (Monday December 14, 2009, my daughter’s birthday), I called my doctor to tell him what I had discovered. He requested that I come in immediately for an examination. This was just seven days

after he had seen me for my regularly scheduled GYN exam and here I am again for a re-exam. What he had missed a week prior was definitely evident this time. He gave me a script to go to the Women’s Imaging Center for a mammogram and ultrasound on Tuesday December 15, 2009. This was my second mammogram because a year prior, 2008, I had a baseline mammogram, which had been normal. This time around it wasn’t. There was definitely a mass and it needed to be biopsied. I went to see a surgeon on Thursday December 17, 2009 for the biopsy. I had only shared this information so far with my daughter, a close friend, a cousin, my dad and my significant other.

On Friday December 18, 2009, while at work, I received a phone call from the surgeon telling me that he was sorry but the tumor was malignant. I didn’t have a meltdown; I just wanted to know what to do next. Surgery was suggested and could have been scheduled for five days later. But I decided to get a second opinion.

I scheduled an appointment for a second opinion and another appointment to see an oncologist. I am grateful to know people who work in the medical field because I was introduced to one of the best teams for which a person in my situation could ask. My surgery was on January 19, 2010. I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy (Dr. Jean Capasse). The surgery went well. Recovery was fast and after three weeks I was back to work. I thought I was able to put the illness behind me until chemotherapy, radiation and tamoxifen were suggested as preventative treatment. I refused chemo for about a month until I had gotten four opinions. I got two opinions from oncologists (Drs. Richard Zelkowitz at the Whittingham Cancer Center in Norwalk, CT and Abraham Mittelman in White Plains, NY), and two opinions from naturopathic doctors, one of whom is a cousin of mine, Dr. Tamara Dickson in Seattle, Washington, and Dr. Kristen West (Cancer Treatment Centers of America).

I was told I needed four chemo treatments, radiation and five years of hormonal treatment. I wasn’t very receptive to those suggestions but I decided to give it a try. The doctors said that most patients’ biggest concern is hair loss. Mine was my quality of life. I wanted to continue to be as active as I always was. I didn’t want to have to depend on anyone to take care of me and to just continue to live life as I normally lived it. The doctors were very optimistic that I’d be able to do all of what I was used to doing. Fortunately, they were right! I had not one bad day. I didn’t have to go through the vomiting, nausea, fatigue, achiness, mouth sores and other possible side effects associated with chemotherapy. Fourteen days after my first treatment I lost my hair. It was pretty dramatic but not at all traumatic. I had shoulder-length hair prior to my hair falling out and by the time it was done, I was practically bald. I wasn’t bothered by it at all because I had worn my hair really short in the past, and again, my quality of life was most important to me.

However, without prayer and the overwhelming support of my family and friends, my journey may have been much different. I am grateful to each and every one of them! I completed my radiation treatments in July 2010 and I must say that my journey was a lot easier than I anticipated it would be.

My advice: Do your self-breast exams regularly, get annual GYN exams and take the initiative to get regular mammograms!

Grace Clark, February View My Story »

Grace Clark

My name is Grace Clark and I am celebrating my 50th year of life and 10 years of survivorship.

During the summer of 1999, I began to feel an overwhelming need to switch gynecologists as I was heading to the big 40 and felt a female doctor would best serve my needs – you know, menopause. My gynecologist of 15 years was a male who delivered my children who are now 25 (son) and 21 (daughter). My medical APRN (Advanced Practice Nurse) gave me the name of one her colleagues, Sarah Njamy, who is a Clinical Nurse Midwife (RN, CNM).

I made an appointment with Sarah before my 39th birthday and my examination was unremarkable. She asked me if I had received a baseline mammogram. My response was “no,” explaining that on my last exam my former gynecologist indicated that I did not need one until I was 40. Sarah strongly recommended that I get a baseline mammogram now. The following day I received a call from Sarah, another a few days later, and then another. I initially thought her calling was thoughtful and caring. However, by the third call, I began to feel intruded upon. I was ready to complain about harassment. But rather than using my anger in a negative way, I decided to just have the test done to get her out of my hair. So my first mammogram was performed and the radiologist found micro calcifications. A biopsy was done of the area and I was diagnosed with cancer.

The diagnosis was ductal carcinoma in situ of the right breast, less than one cm, the size of a pencil dot; but it was the most aggressive type of breast cancer. I then had to undergo a lumpectomy and for staging, check to determine if the margins were clear after removing the cancerous area of my breast. The report was equivocal, meaning each time the sample was taken, although the cells were not as aggressive as the original biopsy, there were non- aggressive cancer cells present. Plus, there was spreading beyond the margins with the potential to become aggressive and spread further. So considering the reports from the lumpectomy, I decided that a mastectomy was best. It was scheduled for Valentines’ Day 2000. A month after my mastectomy I began chemotherapy – a cocktail that consisted of 5FU, Adriamycin, and Cytoxin. My chemo course was every three weeks for six sessions, lasting five months, and I was truly sick. During my first cocktail, I began to feel this incredible heaviness and the room grew darker and darker. I later learned that I was fainting. The nursing staff was efficient and conscientious as they rushed to my chair, raised me up, took my vital signs and saw that my blood pressure was very low. They then flushed the medication out of my veins with saline. It turned out that the medication was too potent for me. From that session on, my chemo cocktail was diluted with one bag of normal saline. The side effects from the chemo cocktail were nausea, weakness, copper mouth, loss of hair and weight loss.

For my first breast reconstruction, I decided on the saline implant, which was later removed because of dislodgement and leakage into my chest wall. Between the first mastectomy and reconstruction, a year later, the mammogram of my left breast showed changes in breast mass and size. I decided to have it removed, scheduling my second mastectomy and reconstruction. I did not have any problems with the implant on the left sided.

Because of the problems that occurred with my right breast implant, I had to make a decision about further breast reconstruction. I had a few choices: replace my implants with new ones; use silicone implants; leave my chest wall without implants (which I definitely did not want to do); use a prosthetic bra (a bra with pads sewn in – very expensive); or have the TRAM FLAP procedure, which required cutting out my abdominal area (muscles, blood vessels and skin tissue) and, once removed, the breasts were formed and connected to the chest wall. My abdominal area would then be closed up with a mesh inside to act as abdominal muscles.

After researching the possibilities, I decided to proceed with TRAM FLAP. It was difficult getting used to not having abdominal muscles. The effects from all of the surgeries were limited use of both arms, more so on the right because of the lymph node dissection and numbness to the right side, again from the lymph node dissection.

I used Tomaxifin for one year until my second mastectomy. At that point there was no further need for the medication because I had no breast tissue.

Eleven years later, I am still here. My anniversary date falls on the date of my cancer surgery, which was February 14, 2000. My oncologist finally talked me into spacing out my appointments now on an as-needed basis.

have two wonderful children, Jimmie Penn III (25) and Sheree Penn (21) and a granddaughter Grace Jasmine (4). I am a member of the: National Breast Cancer Coalition, Army of Women Breast Cancer Coalition, Witness Project Breast Cancer Organization, Graduate of Project LEAD (Leadership, Education, and Advocacy Development), and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. I have been a team member and volunteer for Relay for Life and Making Strides against breast cancer, advocate, spokesperson, volunteer and committee member for the Witness Project of CT. I am currently participating in the Project Lead advocacy training and have lobbied on Capital Hill with the National Breast Cancer Coalition; and lastly, I have written a book about my cancer experience, “From Pain to Purpose”. I have a Masters’ Degree in Community Mental Health and just finished my Master’s Degree in Nursing. I am blessed.

I end every discussion with, “I shall live and not die to declare the work of the Lord”.

Kathleen Marable, March View My Story »

Kathleen Marable

In 1988, my Head Nurse, Elsa, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer the year before, was on a crusade to have her nurses get a mammogram. At that time a woman could get one under the age of 40. I went to the Yale mammography van and had it done. I then went on vacation with my husband and two daughters.

When I returned from vacation there was a letter waiting from a doctor at Yale New Haven Hospital. The letter stated my mammogram had shown some suspicious areas (calcium sites) in my right breast and that I would need some follow-up. A needle biopsy showed ductal carcinoma in situ. It was small, less than a centimeter – like Mrs. Nancy Reagan’s. It was so small that it would have been a long time before I would have been able to feel it.

Dr. Andrew Graham – the surgeon – discussed with me the options of having additional surgery or not. I could do nothing and watch it closely since it was a slow grower; I could have a lumpectomy with radiation; or I could have a mastectomy.

I sought a second opinion and was given the same advice. I felt betrayed by my body! All I wanted was the cancer out! So on Halloween Day, I had a right modified radical mastectomy with saline expander for an implant. My lymph nodes were clear and the tumor was not estrogen receptive. I needed no additional treatment.

Cancer is a life-changing occurrence. The emotional scarring is almost as bad as the physical scarring. I had family and friends as support, but no one came from Reach for Recovery or such. I prayed; we all prayed. The scriptures Isaiah 53:5 and Psalms 121:1-2 were a comfort to me.

The first breast implant had to be replaced because it encapsulated in the first year. The new implant stayed until 2006 when the saline around the silicone leaked. I experienced implant leaks, hematoma and a staph infection. The last surgery was June 2008 for a ruptured implant. It is in place but changing. During my journey, I have also had three plastic surgeons.

I get a mammogram and see Dr. Graham annually every Halloween. I give God an extra thank you and praise. In April 2010 I had a BRAC gene analysis done and it was negative. This is great.

Mammograms do save lives with early detection. I am so glad I had one at 38 years old. I am now a 21-year breast cancer survivor!

Sharon Grimes, April View My Story »

Sharon Grimes

My name is Sharon Grimes and as I was reading my bible I came across this passage in Hebrews 13:5. I interpreted this passage as: “God won’t leave me or forsake me.” That is what gives me the strength along my journey.

My journey started on November 14, 2008 when I went to see my doctor and he told me that I have breast cancer and that it had spread to my lower spine. I was shocked and stunned! I could not believe what I was hearing.

After I got over my shock, I very quickly started on a six-week treatment of radiation to my spine as well as a hormonal medication called Tamoxifen. I also had to endure many tests and surgeries as well as hospital stays. Then just when I thought I could take a deep breath, my doctors identified additional tumors on my legs. At this point, my doctors decided to treat me with chemotherapy plus an additional four weeks of radiation treatments.

I started the chemotherapy regimen in March 2010, which consisted of Taxol in combination with Avastin that continued until September 2010.

This has been the hardest thing I’ve had to go through. But with the Grace of my Lord and the support of my family, I am here to tell my story. So I can truly say that God has not left or forsaken me. Stay strong and keep your faith in the Lord.

 

Through all your storms of life, let God by your umbrella”.

Margaret Taylor, May View My Story »

Margaret Taylor

My name is Margaret Taylor. I live in Newington, Connecticut. I am a wife, mother and grandmother of two sweet little girls.

Approximately 10 years ago, I was a model, dancer, workout fanatic and in the best shape of my life. During self-examination I found a hard ball underneath my left breast. I went to my primary care physician for an examination and they referred me to a surgeon for a biopsy. When the test results came back positive, I was totally beside myself. My mother and one of my sisters were also breast cancer survivors but I never thought that it would happen to me.

I immediately had surgery where in addition to removing the lump, the main lymph node was also removed as a precaution to prevent further spreading.

After surgery my surgeon referred me to an oncologist, Dr. Robert Siegel, whom I still see today on a yearly basis. Dr Siegel suggested to my husband and I that both chemotherapy and radiation treatments would provide the best chance of becoming cancer free. After much thought, tears and fear, I decided to do both. I managed to complete chemo but not without physical changes to my body. I didn’t lose my hair but I did gain more than 50 lbs. during treatments.

I still have physical reminders of this ordeal in the form of lumps on my legs, increased sensitivity to heat and cold, and increased susceptibility to contagious illness – BUT I AM ALIVE!

When I started my treatments I was told by another cancer survivor to think of it like going on a trip where you would not be returning for 18 months. Having gone through this I understand why this was said because it took me that amount of time and more to feel like my self again. I know that I will never be the person I was, but I accept the person I am today.

I now have been a breast cancer survivor for 10 years and pray to remain cancer free. It was a journey that I never thought I would have to take or wish on any one else. That being said, I feel so blessed to still be with my loving and very supported husband and to see my grandchildren grow up.

Kimberly Spell, June View My Story »

Kimberly Spell

Hi, my name is Kimberly Spell, and I found out I had cancer in 2008 after giving birth to my daughter. During pregnancy, I noticed a raisin size lump in my breast when I was carrying her. Since I had always had cystic breasts, I did not think it was that unusual. However, after I gave birth, it grew to be the size of a walnut or small plum, and I decided to have it checked out by a doctor.

I later learned that my hormones were feeding this tumor and that is why it had grown so large so fast. The fact that in 2000 my grandmother had been diagnosed with breast cancer and as a result had her breast completely removed with a mastectomy, made me aware of that possibility – that I might have breast cancer. At the age of 35, to find out you have cancer was, wow!!!!

The doctor talked to me about removing part of my breast. I then had to think about having half a breast with the chance of this tumor coming back. I chose to have a mastectomy and removed my right breast. The chemotherapy, which lasted four months, was very hard on my body. I had allergic reactions (rash) every session. As of May 2010 I was done with chemotherapy and then had to wait for the surgery to reconstruct my breast. That occurred in August 2010, and as I write this, am now in recovery and continue to heal.

I cannot say that I am completely happy with the results. But I know that I am a survivor and that I have much to live for, especially my three daughters who are eleven, eight and two years old.

Christine Hamett-Ulmer, July View My Story »

Christine Hamett-Ulmer

Hi! I’m Christine “Chrissy” Hamett-Ulmer. Born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, I am the proud mother of seven children – ages twenty-five, twenty-two, twenty, seventeen, ten, and three; and grandmother of two, ages seven and twelve.

I always worked two jobs and was too busy to get regular check-ups for myself. Around the time when my seventh child turned one, I noticed a bruise on my right breast. I did not pay much attention to it because, while playing with the baby one day, he hit his head on my breast. I just thought it would go away soon. However, after four months went by, it still hadn’t gone away. It didn’t bother me physically, but mentally it tore me apart.

I work at the Jewish Home for the Aged and at the time Ms. Phyllis White was a resident there and I would always talk with her every day. One day she told me about the Sisters’ Journey support group for women who were survivors of breast cancer. I then began telling her about how I had a bruise that wouldn’t go away. She asked, “Have you ever had a mammogram?” I said, “No, I never had time.” She told me: “Now is the time.”

I continued to work for about one month more, and one day she said: “I’m going to make an appointment for you”. Of course I was scared but I went. When they said, “You have breast cancer”, I immediately thought I was going to die. I said, “Oh no, God, this can’t be happening to me. I have too many kids for this. How am I going to make it without a job?”

The doctors said the cancer was 12 centimeters big, the size of my whole breast; and when they did a biopsy, they estimated the cancer had already been there for five years. Immediately they started me on chemotherapy for four months in October 2008. Then I had a double mastectomy, by choice, with permanent implants in March of 2009. I had two more months of chemo, five weeks of radiation and one year of Avastin, which I just finished on July 19, 2010. Now I only take a pill, Tamoxifen, once a day for five years. I am now currently back at work and enjoying life and my kids to the fullest, by the Grace of God.

So if anyone thinks they can’t make it through, “you can”, one day at a time and think of me, Chrissy!

Rebecca Hamilton, August View My Story »

Rebecca Hamilton

In September 2009, I went for my annual mammogram. Afterwards, I received a call to be scheduled for a biopsy. The biopsy revealed that I had early stage of non-invasive breast cancer.

My surgeon scheduled a lumpectomy followed by a series of radiation. Praise God, chemotherapy was not needed.

My daughter was there every step of the way through all of my procedures. Twice a day I would hear from one or more of my brothers or sisters, most of whom live out of state. Friends and my church family also checked in frequently on my progress.

Since my illness I have tried to learn whatever I can about breast cancer – the causes, possible prevention, and how to help others going through this illness.

I thank God everyday that I came through this illness because cancer is very prevalent in my family. I have learned that it is very important to talk to your family and friends for support. No one should have to go through this illness alone.

Clara Stevenson, September View My Story »

Clara Stevenson

My name is Clara Stevenson. I was born on October 29, 1932 on the cotton farmlands of Greenville, North Carolina. I am a southern spirited woman with a long and deeply rooted work history that stretches all the way back to the time when I was 12 years old. I transitioned to Connecticut in the 1950s with my husband and two sons.

Subsequently, about eight years later, I found myself with a family of seven minus a husband. However, I persevered and like so many other black women before me, I was forced prematurely to develop the wisdom and strength needed to continue pursuing a life that would secure and protect my future and all that my life had become. I was now responsible for the protection and development of the lives of seven children. Through life’s journey and experiences, I have learned that nothing is acquired easy.

Discipline is one of the basic dynamics in life needed to acquire and accomplish a better quality of life. Discipline coupled with three other dynamic elements was the key that got me through my bout with this disease called cancer.

Number one was my faith in God who was the chief medical physician over an assorted team of doctors and surgeons.

Number two was the discipline and willingness that was exemplified by my children, which reinforced number three, my strength and desire to continue to fight the good fight and never give up. That fight will forever burn in my spirit. These are the basic dynamics that served as my guide through the bout with cancer. I am a survivor – I will never give up!

It is an honor as well as a joy to have been given the opportunity to be amongst this outstanding group of survivors. I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to all of the supporters who have helped me through these turmoils, all of the women in the world that have had cancer. And to those who did not make it through their journey…. with thee I will bow my head.

Thank you to Sisters’ Journey for allowing me this opportunity and providing the avenue to express my personal feelings and experiences. I’ll end with a quote from my son: “Life’s journey is to establish healthy relationships, to magnify the human experience.” May all the women who have not survived, rest in peace.

I would encourage regular self-breast exams, get GYN exams yearly and take the initiative to get regular mammograms!

Elsie Dixon, October View My Story »

Elsie Dixon

My Journey started in June 1990 on my 40th birthday. Doing self-examination, I found a lump on my left breast. While thinking it would go away, it only got bigger. I mentioned it to my daughter who said I should call my doctor. She was worried something was wrong. My doctor at the time, examined me and recommended I get a mammogram, which I did. As I waited for the news, I was very nervous and when the results came in, it was that I have “breast cancer”.

In denial, I wanted another opinion. My doctor referred me to a specialist who confirmed it was “cancer”. Both doctors suggested surgery immediately because the cancer was far advanced. After explaining everything to my children, we agreed to a total mastectomy with the removal of lots of lymph nodes. I then needed chemotherapy and radiation to rid myself of this cancer. The process was very long and it was a very difficult year for me.

My children were by my side every step of the way. I thank God for them. While trying to recover after surgery and continuing with the other treatments, I developed phlebitis in the left arm. Fluid had built up and it made my left side very sore and tender. I was not able to use it for a long time.

With prayers from friends and family and thinking positively, recovery was a little better to deal with. I am now 17 years cancer free. I have a new outlook on life, and I take it one day at a time. “Thank God for my children.”

Margaret Zackery, November View My Story »

Margaret Zackery

My name is Margaret J. Zackery and I reside in Hamden, Connecticut with my husband, Webster “Zack” Zackery, Jr. We have two children, Jamie and Webster III Zackery. I also have two stepdaughters, Dione and Inez Zackery, and several grandchildren.

My journey began on February 18, 2009 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. There are no words I can use to fully express my feelings when I heard those dreadful words! I was asked to come in with my husband to meet and discuss my options with my surgeon, Dr. Paul Barcewiz.

On March 2, 2009, I had a lumpectomy, followed by four cycles of chemotherapy treatments with Dr. Johanna LaSala and six weeks of radiation therapy with Dr. Suzanne Evans. The treatments were very devastating on my body. Along with killing the cancer cells, the treatments also kill the body’s good cells.

One of the toughest moments of this journey was telling my mom because she had received the same news around 20 years ago when my sister, Kathleen Marable, was also diagnosed with breast cancer.

I thank God for giving me the strength to endure all of my treatments to the end. I am thankful for my phenomenal husband who traveled this journey with me. Zack came to every doctor’s appointment and to every chemotherapy treatment. He was my greatest supporter!

Through this journey, I chose to be private during my diagnosis, only talking to my immediate family and a small circle of friends who all were very supportive and prayerful. I thank you all!

I thank Pauline Simms and Sharon Aiken for inviting me to a Sisters’ Journey meeting, which has helped me greatly, and it also has helped me to begin sharing my story with others.

I thank you Heavenly Father for my total healing!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. To God be the Glory!

Verna LaPrince, December View My Story »

Verna LaPrince

In May 2009, I was cleaning my house and moving and lifting furniture around from side to side. I leaned over to pick up a pail and felt a sharp pain. I could not move for five minutes. I just stood there holding the pail. After the pain went away, I continued my work and the other ordinary chores that I was doing. The pain never returned.

In June of 2009, I felt a lump in my breast above the chest area. I walk every day as part of my daily exercise routine. When I showered afterward, sometimes the lump was there and other times I felt nothing.

During the latter part of June I was taking a bath and, after I got out of the tub, was drying myself off and getting ready for church when I saw the lump again and also felt it. I got up and got a piece of tape, put it on the spot and went to my medical doctor to be examined.

At first he could not feel it but suggested that I have a mammogram; and I suggested that I have an ultrasound as well. On July 8, 2009, I had both tests. The mammogram was normal as it always had been; however, the ultrasound showed that something was there but they didn’t know what it was. On the next day, July 9, 2009, they performed a biopsy. On July 16, 2009, the results showed that it was cancer.

My first appointment with the cancer doctor was July 23, 2009. My journey began with a CT scan, MRI, bone scan and biopsy, all leading up to having a lumpectomy on September 16, 2009 followed by radiation and chemotherapy.

Because of the history of cancer in my family, I cannot tell you that I was not afraid; but I had an inner peace and I just wanted to get it over with.

Living from my faith, I know that God is with me. I have been blessed through all my treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. I thank God for the doctors, the surgeon, and all of the staff at the Yale Cancer Center.

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