the oldest of eight living siblings of a family of 14 – at 95 years young!
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2011 at the age of 85. I had a double mastectomy as well as one year of chemotherapy.
I had recently lost my childhood sweetheart, my love, my husband of 61 years, DeWitt R. Harmon, Sr. in May 2010. Shortly thereafter I began to experience a number of physical challenges. In July I had two TMIs. Up until then I was still driving, but after the TMIs my family took the car keys. Then in January 2011, I had to have my gall bladder removed. My doctor really did not recommend the surgery because of my age, but I decided to trust God and go forward with it because I had been in so much pain. The surgery went very well, and I was feeling much better, getting stronger, enjoying life.
Well, one day in June 2011, while lying in bed, when I pulled the covers up, I brushed my right breast, and it felt a little strange. I checked my left breast and it did not feel the same. I then decided to do the actual self-breast check for the next few days. I definitely felt a lump in my right breast.
I contacted my primary care doctor, and he ordered a mammogram. Something was seen on the mammogram, so I was referred to a surgeon, Dr. Andrew Kenler, who ordered another mammogram of both breasts. I also had a biopsy done in his office of my right breast. When these results came back, I was diagnosed with HER2 negative in the right breast and DCIS in the left breast. I did not have any lumps in the left breast. Along with the double mastectomy I also had one lymph node removed. Thanks be to God, it was clear.
I went through a year of chemotherapy with the love, prayers and 100 percent support of my family, church, friends, Dr. Neal Fischbach and my nurse, Renee. Either my daughter or my son went with me to every treatment. I never went alone. I had a few minor side effects from the chemo. I lost my hair, and my taste buds and nails were also affected. I also had some lymphedema in my arm, which was helped with physical therapy. I did not need to wear the sleeve for lymphedema very long.
I did not lose any weight. I did get a wig with the help of Harriett from Saxon Kent and the Susan Komen Foundation, but I mostly wore a hat. Before I knew it, the year was over and now it has been 10 years and I am cancer free.
God has truly been good to me. I recently celebrated my 95th birthday with a Zoom party from my family. I’ve had both of my vaccinations for COVID-19. I am now a part of Sisters’ Journey, and my family members are all safe.
I am grateful, thankful and give God ALL the praise!!!