This month we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month by asking ESSENCE.com readers to share their stories about breast cancer, and what got them through.
Take a look at what they shared with us:
Keyshia Smith DuBose — “I was first diagnosed in 2006 when my daughter was eight-months-old. I went through surgery, chemo and radiation. I was diagnosed again in 2009, on the opposite breast. This time I chose to have a bilateral mastectomy. What got me through was my faith in God, prayer, my wonderful husband Larry, my four children who kept my mind occupied and my family and friends. I had the best support system. I am a living testimony and I will continue to tell my story in order to help others that are going through what I have survived! Thank you God.”
Carla Adagun — “I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer in May of 2010. Early detection by mammogram saved my life as the tumor was only 1 cm but a high grade. I didn’t feel a thing. I had a lumpectomy and 6 treatments of the most aggressive chemo that they can give triple negative breast cancer patients. They also found that I was BRCA 2+ through genetic testing. This puts me at a 85%+ risk of developing a new primary estrogen positive breast cancer and/or ovarian cancer. Therefore, I had my ovaries removed and will have a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction later this month. My faith in God and knowing that there is no sting in death for those in Christ helped me live without fear. Do I want to die… no. But I know that I am healed whether I live or die. Support groups, family, and friends help me get through the 5 year period I need to reach to be considered in remission.”
Eunice Tucker – @Kimberly Martin I am not sure where to begin. This past year has been tough. Last September I found a lump under my right arm while vacationing with my family. On September 28, 2010, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. I started chemo within 2 weeks of diagnosis. I went through 16 weeks of chemo, had a double mastectomy, genetic testing and 5 and 1/2 weeks of radiation. I am so thankful and blessed to say that I am cancer free today and will have my reconstructive surgery in 2 weeks. I could not have gone through this year without the support of my family and friends. Keeping a journal during this journey kept me sane and sharing it on caring bridge allowed my family and friends to go on this journey with me. I never knew how strong I was until being strong was all I had left.
Tara Jackson — My faith in God has gotten me through this journey, through it all God continues to reassure me that I was healed, so automatically I thought that when I went back for scans that it was going to be gone. But that wasn’t in the plan I went through two rounds of chemotherapy last year… going from inoperable to operable, the doctors didn’t think that they could get it all because it was so far gone… but God continued to reassure me that I was in his hands. It had gotten to the point that it spread to my lymph nodes, sternum and lungs. Through it all, I did get frustrated and ask why me, but God continued to encourage and let me know that he was in control of my healing process. I am happy to say that I have a great group of family and friends and network of doctors who have helped with this journey. I just had a mastectomy in August and the pathology report showed that were able to get the mass that grew to nine cm. I am currently doing chemo as a follow-up and would like to encourage all in the journey to hold on to your faith and that God is truly a healer. It may not be in the way that you expect, but he will deliver. I am scheduled for follow-up scans this week.