I am a native of Camden, South Carolina, born to the proud parents of Robert and Carrie Bell (Patterson) Cooke. As I was the seventh child out of nine, it was always symbolized as a lucky sign.
Over the years, I have lived in Camden, South Carolina; Patterson, New Jersey; and New Haven, Connecticut where I currently reside and have lived for 56 years. After graduating from Wilbur Cross High School in 1968, I worked at Yale Divinity School for two years and then, in 1971, I began my career at Southern New England Telephone Company (SNET) that over time transitioned to become SBC and is now AT&T where I am currently employed over 45 years as well as with the New Haven Parking Authority where I have worked for 18 years and counting.
In 2001 I noticed some leakage from my breast. I immediately called my doctor who ordered a mammogram that was abnormal. I then had a biopsy. Once the results were in, I was told that I had breast cancer. In a follow-up consultation visit, I learned that my cancer was very treatable. The treatment consisted of a procedure called a lumpectomy (removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue) followed by eight weeks of chemotherapy.
I always had routine checkups. After one of my mammograms and follow-up visit in 2003, I was contacted by my physician, Dr. Melissa Perkal, and was told that additional cells needed to be removed resulting in a Mastectomy (removal of the breast). At this point, I turned to God and asked Him to please take my hand and lead me on; and God answered my prayers. The procedure was flawless and the treatment of another round of chemotherapy went well.
Overall, throughout trying times and ups and downs, I would like to give much thanks and appreciation for the many prayers to my faithful support team which consisted of family and friends: my daughter and son-in-law (LaVonne & Ossie Day); my sons (Montez and Clarence); my grandchildren (DaVonne, CheVonne, Sumiah, Ossie, III, JyMar, DaVion, and Tahaji); my great-grandchild (Neriah); and Bishop Colon & Pastor Dorthea Haywood; Dr. Andrea Silber (chemotherapy doctor); Marie Robinson (close friend); and Sisters’ Journey. I am currently serving in the capacity of Daughter Ruler and would like to send a heartfelt “Thank You” to Pocohontas Temple #55-Daughters of Elks.
In life, I always remember to treat everyone with a kind hand as there is good in everyone and I’m
always praying for new treatments in breast cancer.
God bless all the survivors!