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 every day 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.