So this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down, and I would like to take a minute just sit right there, now let me tell you how I became an advocate for Breast Cancer Health Care!! On December 2nd, 2020 my life changed in the blink of an eye. My story goes back a few months before this when I found a lump while I did a self-exam of my breast in the shower. I felt a lump on my left breast and immediately I was in denial. Several thoughts popped into my head. “This can’t be breast cancer, no one in my family has it, I’m too young and Black women don’t get this.” On top of that, because of the new Covid-19 world I was in no rush to go to the hospital so I brushed it off as being a cyst because I got them when I was younger. I assumed it would just go away if I prayed on it.
As time went on, the lump did not go away so when October approached and I started to see Breast Cancer Awareness messages across my news feeds, I felt a gut feeling that I should probably go find out about this lump since it was not going away anytime soon. Ironically a week after I made my appointment, I was asked by my boss to work on an account that focuses on health disparities amongst Black women with Breast Cancer. Even though I wasn’t sure what was going on with myself, I paused and told my boss – yes I could work on this account, but in the back of my mind I thought what is God trying to tell me!
Still hoping for the best outcome, I went to my annual check up and my doctor felt the lump and she then told me that I should go get a mammogram as soon as possible. I felt a wave of shock come over me as I was nervous but knew that I had to take control of my health and find out. The next week I went to get the mammogram and all I could think was that I’m to young to be here. As I did the mammogram and then the ultrasound I felt like something was wrong by the way the radiologist had given me the information. It always seems like they know what’s going on but won’t tell you. She told me that my breast were dense so I would have to go and get a biopsy to make sure that there were no malignant cells. Immediately I felt scared and didn’t know what to do. So I had to call my parents because I didn’t want to face this alone.
Thank God my parents were supportive, they told me to cancel my flight home to see them for the holidays and take care of my health. The day before Thanksgiving I had the biopsy, and the next day I spent Thanksgiving at home and a close friend stopped by so that I wouldn’t be alone. That whole weekend I couldn’t help but think about the outcome and how it could possibly change my life forever. So I waited the 3 to 5 business days to get the results. I saw a call from the doctor about 15 minutes before my status call at work that I was leading. I got the call from the doctor and she told me that they had found malignant cells and that she had referred me to one of the best breast surgeons and that I should make an appointment for the next week. The doctor didn’t give me much more details so it was a pretty rough time where I had no clue what was going on and I would have to wait an entire week to find out all the details.
From that moment on I felt like my life was going to forever change. So many things flashed before me, like what about my plans that I had for myself. I just started a new job, I was dating and wanted things to work out, I wanted to start working on my blog, I just wanted life to be like it was before the pandemic and be happy. After finding out the news I decided to make a few calls to a few strong women including my boss, CEO and a few life coaches that I have met along my journey. They all had really encouraging words to share with me, tons of prayers and helped me to navigate through a very tough time. What would I do without my village. I then decided that I was going to LIVE and help other women. I would use my story as a testimony to help other women who look like me who may not have a voice.
Now a few months in to my diagnosis I have learned a lot. Here are 4 important things that I learned after my diagnosis:
#1 Always get a second opinion and advocate for yourself
#2 Join a support group with other women who have gone through it
#3 Lean into your support systems, friends, family and co-workers
#4 Increase your faith and relationship with God. Make a choice that you will WIN!! With God, you’ve already Won!!