Rosetta Howell

Rosetta Howell Image

Cont.
for my annual mammogram in October 2005. I went in that day feeling my happy-go-lucky self and
cheerfully chatted with a few of the ladies in the waiting room. I had my exam, redressed and waited for the reading from the doctor. Then, WHAM! The doctor said they wanted me to go to another office for a different screening. My happy face turned into a worried face. I had never heard these words before – though the doctor stated that it could be nothing, they just wanted to be sure.

Fast forward: There was the next test, then biopsies, ultrasound and FEAR. Finally the words came out of the doctor’s mouth, “You have Stage 1 breast cancer.” I did not know whether to scream, cry or shout at God, “Why me!”

Although I thought my outcome would be nothing more than some dense tissue or a cyst, CANCER was what they said. I went home and cried. Then I sat my husband down and told him what was going on and the steps that we had to take. This was no easy fete. I now had the task of sharing this information with my family, employer and close friends. It did not make it
any easier or make my burden any lighter each time I had to share this information because they all had so many questions and I did not have all the answers. Lastly I had to try to explain to my two daughters who were four and eight at the time and who thought mommy only had a booboo. I was 47 years old at the time of my diagnosis.

I had to get over myself and go into react mode, researching surgeons and finding out what the next steps would be. Who would take care of my babies? It was a whirlwind of confusion and mass hysteria. I wanted to live for my daughters and I had so many things that were swirling around in my head. I went into overdrive after the visit to the surgeon. He set the date of the surgery. This made me even more frantic because now this was really happening. No
more “Why me, Lord!” I had prepared for my journey but it was not that simple.

I went for surgery and braced myself for the outcome; but my outcome was not as expected.
After the surgery, a few days had passed and I thought I was doing well – until I received a call from the surgeon’s office letting me know that I needed to have another surgery. The cancer was not completely removed the first time and they needed to clear more from the area. This was devastating news but I went back the next week and had another surgery. You would think that surgeons should know what they are doing, but believe it when I say, get
some references on your surgeon, because I had developed a problem from the second surgery and the doctor kept telling me it was nothing. After a few visits to his office to show him that something was definitely wrong, I was scheduled for a third surgery because I had internal bleeding and had lost over two pints of blood. They were able to correct the problem
and I was finally able to began my healing process.

Once healed, I was given two angels for doctors – my oncologist, who is one of the best, and my radiation oncologist who was a jewel. These two ladies helped to restore my mental state after the surgery. We began the journey to my healing process and getting me back on track with my daily activities.

I kept myself busy so that I would not have to think and ponder what was going on with my body. As I said, I had my family to live for and I needed to keep everything as normal as possible for my girls. I cannot claim all of this strength of enduring this journey by
myself; my husband was right there by my side as well as my sister, my mother who flew in to help, and a host of friends who were there to be the Uber driver or provide a meal to my family while I was recuperating. This journey is not an easy one when one receives such devastating news, but it is always a blessing to have the support of friends and family, and most of all Jesus on your side, guiding you every step of the way.

I am a 15-year survivor and I would not be here if it was not by the grace of God, family and friends and my favorite scripture, Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” NIV