My Name is Allyson Epps. I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer on November 19, 2012. My diagnosis was called Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. It was found in my left breast after both a mammogram and an ultrasound. (I was always on time in getting my yearly mammograms.) After a biopsy, subsequent tests showed I had a small amount of protein called HER2 (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2). This protein can control how breast cancer cells grow.
Knowing whether you are HER2+ or HER2- can help determine the best options for treatment. The surgery I received was a lumpectomy of my left breast. Afterwards I had chemotherapy treatments followed by radiation. I also participated in a clinical trial during which I received additional chemotherapy including the standard chemotherapy Taxotere and Cytoxan plus Herceptin. This therapy targeted the HER2 protein I had in my breast. My decision to move forward with this clinical trial treatment was done with the hope that it would prevent the reoccurrence of my cancer and that by doing so it may help other patients with a similar type of breast cancer.
At this time I have been cancer free for almost four and a half years. Throughout my journey, I prayed and kept the spirit of God in my life, as I have always to this day. I also felt that it was important to communicate my feelings through Sisters’ Journey’s Social Media Facebook page with the hope that I could reach women who may be currently undergoing or may have previously gone through the “Pink Journey.” I wanted to give a positive and inspirational message as I traveled through my journey of being ‘Pink’ with hopes that it would help others. I kept myself anonymous and used the name “In My Pink Voice.” Through my postings, I wanted to reach out and let others know there is hope when diagnosed with breast cancer. I began to write in my anonymous imaginary “Pink Voice” on December 21, 2012. I thank Sisters’ Journey for allowing me to be a voice of my own personal journey on their social media page. I did this to help others by giving words of hope and inspiration, with a sense of humor, love, and most of all, encouragement.
In 2013 I decided to become a founder of the Radiant Pink Angels. Our mission as a social group was to come together for the common cause of fighting breast cancer by fundraising for mobile mammogram services.
I have had so many supporters during this journey. My one supporter who passed away in June 2015 was my husband, Marvin Epps. Marvin was there for me and he attended every chemotherapy appointment. This man loved me strong through this “Pink Journey.” I know God is smiling on him for being a fantastic husband. Marvin would say to me, “Allyson you have breast cancer and so do I.”
I am very thankful for all who have supported me: My father Travis Ford for taking me to my chemo appointments; his wife Jeannette for being there for me after my surgery; my Aunt, Jacqueline Bracey, for her words of wisdom; my sisters, Dimitria, Terri and Ginger for being loving sisters in the time of need; my Mother in-law, Eliza Epps and the Epps family for their loving support; and for all my co-workers who let me know that they were there for me if I needed anything. I thank you all for your loving support.
When I think of the goodness of the Lord I often sing the song Total Praise:
“Lord, I will lift my eyes to the hills, knowing my help is coming from You;
Your peace You give me in time of the storm, You are the source of my strength;
You are the strength of my life, I lift my hands in total praise to You.
“He Gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” – Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)