end of March 2001 when I was 43 years old.
I was always one to do self-examinations. One day while doing so I felt an unusual formation in my left breast. I
asked my fiancé to feel the area and he agreed he felt something different too. My annual GYN appointment
was scheduled, so I was anxious to see if my doctor would feel what I had felt. After my doctor completed the
pap smear and breast exam, he asked if I had any questions. I told him “Yes, would he be so kind as to reexamine
my left breast as I had felt something in that area.” He redid the examination and scheduled me for a
mammogram to be on the safe side.
When I went to my mammogram appointment, I had several pictures taken at different angles. They agreed that there was a mass and I would need an ultrasound done to get a better observation. All the while, I was praying to God that whatever the results were, I was going to be alright and to give me peace at this moment. The ultrasound showed a lump on my breast. I was referred to Dr. Michael O’Brien for a biopsy. I met with Dr. O’Brien and he performed the procedure and advised me that his office would call once the results were received. A few days later, April 1, 2001, my fiancé and I
went into Dr. O’Brien’s office where we were told I had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma breast cancer. My fiancé had
a lot of questions. I was thankful to God that he was there with me. He was and still is very supportive.
Dr. O’Brien explained the possible treatment plan – a lumpectomy to remove the mass, then chemotherapy and radiation to kill the remaining cancer cells. He performed a successful lumpectomy. He then referred me to my current oncologist,
Dr. Johanna Lasala. Dr. Lasala reviewed my case and explained the suggested steps to eradicate this disease. She recommended eight sessions of aggressive chemotherapy and four weeks of radiation. Wow! I experienced severe nausea, hair loss, and fatigue! At the end of all my treatments, I was now cancer free. To God be the Glory!
When April 1, 2021 rolled around, I said to my husband, “I am a 20-year breast cancer survivor. Isn’t God good!” I continued to self-exam and go for my mammograms each year. I had yearly visits with Dr. Lasala. In August 2021, I
scheduled my mammogram appointment. I went in looking forward to the same results it had been for the last 20 years.
They said I was scheduled for an ultrasound because they saw something on my left breast again. Lord, I have been
down this road before! You were with me then, and I know you are with me now! Yes, I am going through the same
steps as I did 20 years ago.
Ultrasound…biopsy…and the results – positive! It was back. But because I had gone through this before, and the
faith I have in the God I serve had grown even more over the years, I knew I was going to be alright. My oncologist
advised since I had radiation before, I probably would not be a likely candidate for another round as my breast tissue
would not hold up. She wanted to be confident in her recommendations. Therefore, she had my case reviewed by
the Tumor Board. Their recommendation was the same – no more radiation and either a bilateral or partial mastectomy.
Since this was a second occurrence, I opted for a bilateral (double) mastectomy with a Diep Flap reconstructive
surgery. The surgery was on December 1 and lasted about 10 hours. The surgery was a success. I was up and walking
around the hospital halls the next day (I love to walk). I recovered from the surgery within the expected time frame
with no issues. I am currently on Anastrozole hormonebased therapy.
One of my favorite scripture verses is: “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I find solace in lifting His holy name and
giving Him all the praise that He is due, no matter what I may be going through. I will bless the Lord at all times, for He has done so much for me. I am truly grateful for the folks he has placed in my life.
Kenny, my loving and adoring husband, has been my rock and best friend! To our son Austin and daughter Fallon, thank you so much for stepping up and helping (shout out to nurse Fallon!). To my niece in Atlanta, Alicia, who is a nurse and mom, for calling each day to check on me and seeing that I had everything medically to make my recovery smooth. To my brother Joe, my sister-in-law Brenda and my other two nieces, Jade and Jasmine, thank you all for the many phone calls and visits. I appreciate each one! Thank you to my sisters in Christ who prayed fervently on my behalf. And lastly, I must acknowledge my late mother, Mary Thomas, for all the prayers that were prayed and for every day she sat with me while I received my chemo treatments. I love and miss you, Mother. To God be all the glory!