Natashia “Nikki” Livingston
In being an advocate of my body, on August 14, 2011, at the age of 38, at 9:56 a.m., I found a suspicious lump the size of a walnut in my right breast.
After an exam from my ob/gyn, a referral for an ultrasound, which lead to a mammogram, and then a biopsy, I knew in my heart that my life was about to change.
From the very moment my og/gyn called to confirm my diagnosis, I went into protective mode. I am the mother of two children, 18-year-old Semaj who was a senior in high school and 13-year-old Shafton who was finishing the eighth grade.
I did not want this diagnosis to have an impact on their lives in a negative way or overshadow the milestones that were taking place in all of our lives. I met with a friend of a friend who had gone through breast cancer before me and she gave me a realistic indication of what I had ahead of me. I then sat with the breast surgeon, discussed my options and made my decision to have a double mastectomy and four months of chemotherapy treatments.
As a family, we accepted the hand that I was dealt, discussed the way in which we would support each other through this journey and faced cancer head on. On September 26, 2011, at 6:00 a.m., I became a survivor.
I knew that I had a long road ahead of me, but with a God-sent support group behind me, I made it through with little-to-no interruption of the normalcy that I had been accustom to living.
From the first phone call I made, my personal life was put in order, including post surgical accommodations at home, chauffeuring me to and from every appointment and the cooked meals for my family for at least two weeks. This planning process made a BIG impact on the way in which I would recover.
I want to thank my mother Viola and her prayer warriors for all of their prayers; my sisters in this life’s journey, Jennifer, Karen and Shaniequa, for the day-to-day, moment-by-moment, support they both gave me; my children, Semaj and Shafton, for giving me the instinct to fight this battle and being the reason I “bartered” with God to spare my life; my mother-in-law Debra who came and sat with me all day at times while I recovered; the host of friends and family who contributed to my financial recovery; Miss Bellah for being the BEST snuggle buddy a girl needs when you just want to cry your eyes out; and last but NOT least, my significant other, James, who made me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world despite my new disfigurements and changes in appearance.
Without you all by my side, I would not be able to say that:
“My name is Natashia Livingston, born on November 14, 1972, and I AM A SURVIVOR!”