Up until October of 2008, I was a 12-year cancer survivor. Now, I have resumed the fight.
My story begins one day in May 1996. I noticed a lump in my right breast while giving myself a breast exam. The next day I went to St. Raphael’s mammogram van. They checked my breast and suggested that I go see a surgeon. I made an appointment with a surgeon at Yale and they sent me to get a mammogram.
When the results came back they had me come into the office again. That’s when the doctor told me that I had breast cancer. My daughter was with me and she comforted me. At that time she was a one-year survivor and knew what I was feeling. We called a family meeting to let the rest of my children know what was going on. They all supported me by taking turns going with me to my doctor appointments. I ended up having a lumpectomy and radiation. I did not get sick from the radiation, but it did make me very tired.
I continued to check my breast and go for my yearly mammograms. In October 2008, I realized that I had not gone for a mammogram, so I made an appointment. When I went for my mammogram at Yale they seemed to take a lot more pictures than normal. I asked the radiologist if everything was okay and he said, “Yes.”
A few days later I received a call from my physician and he asked me to come in that day and I said, “OK”. I was a little nervous so I called my daughter, Yvonne. She was at work and could not leave, so she called her daughter (my granddaughter) and asked her to go with me. My granddaughter Alisha and her baby, Jayli, accompanied me. The doctor said I had cancer in my left breast. I said “Oh no, it came back!” I cried and then we left.
I was so nervous that we ended up going shopping for Halloween candy. All I could think about was giving out candy to the kids. When reality hit. I had to take numerous tests so my doctor scheduled a bunch of appointments for me at Yale. Again, all of my children (Jesse, Annette, Yvonne, Marvin and my grandchildren) went with me to my appointments.
I had to have another lumpectomy, but this time I had to have chemo. Although my daughter had chemo years prior, you really do not know what it’s like unless you experience it yourself. I ended up needing a transfusion because my blood count was low. I lost my hair and my hands turned black. One thing I did not lose was my appetite. I think I ended up eating more than usual. It’s so hard to understand how something that is supposed to help you ends up putting you through such rough times.
I am still going through chemo now while writing this, but with the Grace of God, hopefully, by the time this calendar is released, I pray that everything is back to normal for me. I would like to say thank you to my friends and my family for all of their support. It’s a little bit easier to handle when you have such a strong support base. I have always kept my faith in God.