Sonya Goodman Young
Breast Cancer woke me up on a Friday night in mid October 2010. I was asleep when I felt a sharp shooting pain through my right breast. I knew right then that something was wrong. I got out of bed and went to the bathroom mirror to look at myself. For the first time, I noticed a lopsided breast with dimples in it. In my spirit, I knew it was breast cancer; but at that moment, the Lord began to give me a peace that still surpasses my understanding. I began to recite the 23 Psalm over and over again. Doing that got me through the weekend. On the following Monday I went to my doctor who referred me for the screenings needed to confirm what I already knew. I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
Within one week of the alarm being sounded, I underwent a Radical Mastectomy of the right breast and the cancer was staged at 3. In one weeks’ time, my life had been turned upside down and nothing was quite the same anymore.
My Oncologist told me that he had good and bad news for me. He advised me that the goal for my treatment would be for a cure, but the treatment would be very aggressive and I would suffer. That I did. In the weeks and months after the surgery, I underwent eight months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and hormone therapy. As a result, I am celebrating my first year of survivorship.
I know that the term battle has been associated with cancer survivorship for a long time; and afterall that I had to endure, I still feel that I had a journey instead of a battle. The Lord allowed me to have a peaceful journey through the hell that is cancer treatment. I was particularly sensitive to all the treatments and was very ill most of the time, but through it all, I knew that God was there with me. I often say to people who ask about my experience that I had a lot of bad days physically but always good days spiritually. Daily meditation on God’s love and healing gave me a comfort that I cannot explain. I know that the Lord had his hand in my journey because everything that I needed fell into place. My parents were the greatest blessing of all. They took care of my 11 year old daughter along with making sure that I had what I needed. I was blessed with a large support network and retired parents who had the time and ability to accompany me to all of my treatments. My employer was gracious and supportive as well.
It is important to note that I was 43 years old when diagnosed and I had been diligent about getting my mammograms and other health screenings. I had also been doing self breast examinations. I was told by medical professionals that the cancer I was diagnosed with was particularly aggressive and very common amongstAfrican American women. This fact both startled and angered me. The research showed that African American women are diagnosed less than woman of other races and dying more.
I have believed since the day of my diagnosis that God placed cancer in my life for a greater purpose. I have used my experiences as a springboard to becoming a Community Health Advisor for the American Cancer Society. In thisprogram, I have partnered with 10 women in my community to assist them in getting their annual screenings and linking them to resources should a problem arise. I believe that knowledge is power and it has become my pleasure to educate my sisters in an effort to decrease the mortality rate of African American women.
Knowledge is Power! Know your bodies, your options and the resources available