I’ve lived in New Haven for the past 57 years. I have seven children and through my children, family members and friends I have had a lot of support. I first found out about my breast cancer during a regular visit. It was December 19, 1989. I went to the clinic at Saint Raphael Hospital. I had one mammogram, and the doctor suggested I have another. After the second one, they found a spot. Although I never had a lump I could feel, and never felt sick, they wanted to do a biopsy. After the biopsy they said that if I didn’t have surgery I had five years to live. The doctor wanted me to have surgery. They checked to make sure it had not spread to my lymph nodes, and thankfully, it had not.
There was no history of breast cancer in my closest relatives. I prayed that everything would be all right. I didn’t tell anyone until after Christmas because I didn’t want to upset the family.
On February 12, 1990 I had a mastectomy. I never had chemotherapy or radiation, but I had to take a prescription medication for two years. Every year I have my mammogram, and I make sure my three daughters get their yearly mammograms.
I prayed a lot, and my favorite poem is “Footprints in the Sand” which I’d like to share with you in the hope it will inspire someone else struggling with breast cancer.
Footprints in the Sand
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.
This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.
The LORD replied: My precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”
– Carolyn Carty, 1963