Sharon Grier Kellman
I am 40 years of age, a resident of New Haven, Connecticut. I have been married almost 10 years and have five children. When my son had his first birthday, I discovered a lump in my right breast. I just assumed maybe it’s a milk sack and will go away. It didn’t. I was out shopping one morning with my daughter and baby and we walked into a Goodwill store. Sitting at a table were women with brochures. One of them approached us and began to explain about early detection. She gave us some brochures and I shared with her what was going on with me. She took my number and urged me to make an appointment. She would call and leave messages to see if I had followed through. She even offered to go to the appointment with me. I ignored the calls and just put it in the back of my mind.
Another year went by. The lump was bigger now; it’s hurting; I can’t sleep at night; I was taking overthe-counter medicine for the pain, just wanting morning to come soon. Waking my husband at the time, my daughter, my mom – just wanting them to touch and rub it so it will go away. October came – breast-awareness month and also my birthday. I promised my children if the Lord allows me to see my birthday on October 3rd, I will make an appointment. Prior to that I shared with my pastor what was going on. Dr. Eunice Tucker is an awesome woman in the Lord. She told me to see a doctor.
When the day of the exam came, I my cousin Lisa accompanied me. As I waited for her to pick me up,I looked at myself in the mirror and the Lord spoke to me clearly and told me I have cancer. I accepted that because He will not put more on us than we can bear. As my cousin drove, I told her it felt like I was going to a funeral. We reached the doctors. I was examined and then put into a room with Dr. Barajas (my breast doctor), an assistant, a navigator and my cousin.
Then came the news: “YOU HAVE BREAST CANCER”. I gently pushed the box of tissue back to the middle of the table. I asked: “What about my children. Are there resources available for them, etc.” I truly don’t believe the news hit me yet. I was told I would do six months each of chemo and radiation; also, depending on the treatment, I would have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. As I walked out of the doctor’s office, I began to cry. The news traveled throughout my family and they came to visit one by one that night.
I took multiple tests before chemo. A port was inserted in my upper left chest in November. All of a sudden the person that I and my children needed the most walked out of our lives before mychemo treatment started. That was something else to deal with. I prayed to God and asked Him whomever He wants to be here, they will be. And whoever that’s not, that’s the way it’s supposed tobe and I had peace with it. I started my chemo treatment two days before Christmas. What a Christmas gift! Taxol was my medicine. Thank God for technology. It has come a long way. Not one day did I get sick.
I still lived a normal regular life. I basically ate my way through chemo. Before you know it, it was over – it went by so fast. I went once every three weeks. Next step, surgery. I had a radical mastectomy on my right breast – 12 lymph nodes removed. When I woke up from surgery my entire breast was gone. Believe it or not I was fine with it. I wanted both removed because I didn’t wish to go through that again, but my doctor didn’t recommend that. I wore a prostatic bra for about 4-5 months. Two months later my port was removed and there were complications, but I lived through that. Next step, I was introduced to Dr. Chung, my radiation doctor. I did six weeks of that. Everything went well. It actually takes longer undressing than the actual appointment. Next step, on to my plastic surgeon, Dr. Riley, for reconstruction of my breast. Finally on my way; my breast was reconstructed using my own skin. That went well.
Where am I today? Well I am living a victorious life, enjoying my children, family and true friends. I have a totally different outlook on life. I urge women to know your body; don’t ignore the signs likeI did. It is better to be safe than sorry. The outcomes will be better. Get checked, follow up on appointments. You are your own advocate for your body.
In closing I am grateful that my children will never experience this thanks to the BRCA test. Thank you Niecy for doing my girls hair when I didn’t feel like it. Thank you Regina and BaBa Berry, the best godparents in the world. To my good friend Denise that I love so dearly. To my mom for cooking when I didn’t feel like it. Thank you to Cashmire, a great encourager, also to the family that adopted my family for Christmas. My awesome church family at Christian Union Outreach Freewill Ministries, Mother Boykins, my lay person, and all those that prayed for me through my Journey. Continue to pray and always know
“The battle doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to the Lord”.