E. Paulett Moore Rogers
My name is Emma Paulett Moore Rogers and I am a breast cancer survivor. As I write this story, I await the results of a MRI I had after my annual mammogram. I decided after my second diagnosis of breast cancer that I will not live my life in fear of cancer returning but will live everyday that God Almighty has given me to it’s fullest. I do not plan to leave this earth saying “I wish I had.” Every opportunity to travel, help someone, learn something new or share my blessings, I will.
My journey began in February 2013. I had always gotten my yearly mammogram, especially since I have dense breast tissue and had several cysts aspirated years earlier. This particular day I didn’t think much about the nurse’s request to meet the radiologist, since I had many abnormal findings in the past. So, when they informed me that I needed to have a core biopsy, I was calm, or so I thought until I hit the parking lot and the tears began to flow. I had the biopsy and was informed by my GYN several days later that I had breast cancer, DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ), Stage 0 with Estrogen/Progesterone Receptors positive. I was reassured that the cancer was detected very early and that my prognosis was good. I lived with those words for a weekend, sharing only with my husband and very few friends.
Before making an appointment with the referred surgeon, I knew God not only was with me but also would orchestrate things for me. When I was informed on the first call to the surgeon’s office that she was booked up for months, I calmly called my GYN for another referral. When I made the second call to the same office but a different surgeon, the secretary (who knew nothing about me but my name), said “Wait, let me see what I can work out.” As I waited I whispered a quiet prayer thanking God already, for I knew He was working things out. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said fear not for I have this. At that moment I surrendered myself to Christ and said I trust you with my life. Since speaking it I knew I had to believe it with my heart. Sure enough He proved it by giving me the greatest team of women doctors: Dr. Kaye Zuckerman, Dr. Andrea Silber and Dr. Joyce Chung. I had a right breast lumpectomy on March 21, 2013, and eight weeks of daily radiation at St. Raphael campus followed by a maintenance drug, Tamoxifen. My symptoms were mild and little or no side effects from the radiation, but I could not tolerate the Tamoxifen.
I can attest to the truth of the poem “Footprints.” With the support of my husband, family and friends, I was able to continue to work my part-time job, stay involved with my church and organizations and maintain my exercise routine. I know that during my treatment, God carried me through months of daily hospital or nursing home visits to a woman who meant so much to me and who I considered my mother, Hattie Turner. She was very ill and eventually died, but God gave me everything I needed to love her during her last days on earth and to carry on my normal schedule and complete that journey with my head up and a smile of thanksgiving on my lips in the way Hattie would want me to.
That journey prepared me emotionally and spiritually for my next bout with breast cancer in my left breast. After a left breast biopsy on July 28, 2014, I was facing breast cancer again, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage 1 with a positive HER2. My second lumpectomy with lymph nodes removed was on October 14, 2014, my husband’s birthday, who said he wouldn’t want to spend his birthday anyplace other than with his wife, even in a hospital room. I was informed that I would need 12 weeks of once-a-week chemotherapy (Taxol), 12 months of Herceptin (every three weeks), 12 weeks of radiation, and up to seven years of Endocrine therapy (Letrozole). My chemo started on Wednesday Dec. 3, 2014 at St Raphael campus in a small, warm and caring infusion room surrounded by a wonderful staff.
Anxious but confident of God’s presence, I went in with a smile and my knitting. I was welcomed into that infusion room by the beautiful women who all shared their breast cancer stories and offered their stories of hope, which made my chemo experience much more tolerable. By the third week of chemo my hair was shedding and I picked two of my friends, one who would keep my spirits up to go with me to have my Goldie locks cut and the other who would tell me the truth when I picked out my wig. They were part of my
support team – and what loving and encouraging support my husband, my family, friends near & far, church family, Sorors, and my community gave me. Even though I had every side effect of chemo and radiation, they all were mild symptoms that were manageable. I continually uttered words of thanksgiving to God Our Father for holding me up. I was able to continue my normal routine but at a slower and smaller pace. I finished chemo on Feb. 23, 2015. I had to stop the Herceptin treatment in Apr. 2015 because of damage to my heart. Through the trails, God again strengthened me and set a mission in front of me which became my spiritual support – Women’s Noon Day Prayer and Bible Study at Bethel AME Church. Each Monday, my Noon Day Prayer Sisters of Christ were my lifeline.
I learned so much through this journey. Most of all I learned that when you give to others with a grateful heart, your blessings will return 10-fold. I love life more than ever and I give God the praise & glory for what He has done and continues to do in my life. I could not have done this without God and my loving husband, Peter Rogers. There are so many people who reached out to me that made this breast cancer journey more manageable. I was never angry, never questioned “why me,” never resentful, never felt sorry for myself because of how I went through this journey. I pray that someone can learn from my experience and grow stronger as a child of God. I have met some amazing people because of cancer. I am stronger. I am
better and I pray continually for all my breast cancer sisters.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulations, be constant in prayer.” Roman 12:1