The word of the Lord says, we are over-comers by the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony.
My journey began late October 2017 at the age of 55. I detected a lump in my left breast while doing a self-exam in the shower. I was feeling fine and had no symptoms at all.
I was diligent about getting my annual mammogram every October, and was scheduled two weeks following my discovery. Immediately, I contacted my physician and proceeded with the mammogram. However, this time rather than having the traditional mammogram, I specifically requested a Digital Breast Tomosynthesis, also known as a “3D mammogram.” I had heard of this revolutionary new screening and diagnostic breast imaging tool to improve early detection of breast cancer. I wanted to be sure every angle of my breast was thoroughly reviewed. My health insurance carrier did not cover all of the expense, but it didn’t matter to me. I needed peace of mind.
The 3D mammogram detected the lump. From that point forward I was on an emotional rollercoaster. A whirlwind of tests followed – ultrasound, biopsies, CT Scan and MRI. Major shock!! November 2017, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma – breast cancer. I knew there was a history of breast cancer in my family.
My maternal grandmother Addie was a survivor, and sadly my paternal cousin Tina passed in her early 30s. I never thought it would happen to me. For the sake of my daughters, I decided to take the BRCA genetic testing since there was family history. Thankfully the test was negative.
Given my experience in the healthcare field, I knew exactly who to call. I recall it was late in the evening when I called Dr. Andrew Salner, Director of Hartford Hospital’s Cancer Program/Radiation Oncology to get his advice. He said to me: “You are family, we will take good care of you.” I met with the breast surgeon and then an oncologist who established the plan of care best for my situation. The physicians and their respective staff were caring and supportive.
The most difficult challenge was telling my family. We were all devastated by the news. I charged them and myself to “trust and believe the report of the Lord. “Jesus said by his Stripes I am healed.” My faith was all I had to hold on to and I wasn’t letting go now. My dearly beloved friend Denise Googins-Dyson of Shared Journey, who I miss dearly, transitioned to glory November 2019. She unselfishly took time out of work to accompany me at my doctor’s appointment to review the results. I cried as I listened to the report. Fear overwhelmed me. I did not want to die. I thank God for her calm demeanor, presence and ability to help me interpret the results as she had journeyed before me and was committed to helping other women in their journey.
Next step, the chemotherapy port was inserted and two days before Thanksgiving treatments began. I persevered through eight rounds of chemo, and side effects. After the first round I no longer felt the lump but my oncologist insisted I continue with the treatments. I told her I was healed. I was determined to live and not die, to declare the works of the Lord.
Following chemo, I had a surgical lumpectomy at the recommendation of my care team. Praise God, no residual cancer was found during surgery – clear margins. I then persevered thru 33 days of radiation and then physical therapy.
My journey was not easy, but I made a choice to stand on the word of God that I had hidden in my heart. Psalm 107:20: God sent forth his Word and it healed them. I continued to believe that by faith was I healed
While on a leave of absence from work to care for myself, God proved himself to be my Jehovah Jireh. He provided every step of the way. Jehovah Nissi –
I’m victorious in him. God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness. When diagnosed, I was in my last semester at the Perfecting School of Ministry. He strengthened me to be able to graduate with my class and I received my degree in Biblical Studies in February 2018. Jehovah Shalom – my prince of peace – he kept me in perfect peace when I kept my mind stayed on him and my Jehovah Rapha – the God who healeth thee.
I’m thankful for my wonderful children, Shajuana, Janay and Michael; nephew Kieron and beautiful grandchildren; my dad and most of all my mom who is my rock. She traveled on the bus from Rhode Island in snow and frigid temperatures to take me to my chemo treatments and be with me every step of the way. I’m thankful for those who sat with me through my treatments – Aunt Martha, David Carther and Anita Freeman. Those who prayed me through – Mother Katherine Clay, Thelma Houston, my extended family, friends, The First Cathedral Church family and thriver Barbara Smith. Early detection saves lives! I encourage everyone to do regular self-exams and get annual 3D mammograms. I continue my follow-ups consistently. “I am healed – cancer free.” I count it a blessing to be able to share my journey. To God Be The Glory for the things he has done!
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