On October 17, 2013, I went to have my mammogram like I always do and I was not really worried or concerned about anything because I did a self-examination and didn’t FEEL anything. My examination was over and done with and I went about my business and then, I received a letter in the mail. I happened to be having a phone conversation and while we were talking, I went silent. He asked, “are you still there?” and I replied, “yes, I just received a letter stating that my mammogram was abnormal and that I needed to go have another one.”
I did not go into panic mode; I just made another appointment and went to have another exam. Upon completion of my second exam, I received a phone call from Dr. Brook (SHE NEVER CALLS ME) and she let me know that there was something going on that they needed to take a look at and that she was sending me to see Dr. Brackett and for me to not get into a panic because I WAS IN GOOD HANDS. I sat there in silence for a moment and I got myself together and I made one phone call. The voice on the other end of the phone calmly said, “here is what’s going to happen, YOU PRAY and I will do the worrying”. I called “MY PERSON” and she let me know we are going to get through this part and I’m going to be fine and even if I was not, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
I wallowed in PITY for a few hours and I took a deep breath and all I could hear was MAMA (Vivian) in my head doing what she does best, PRAY! From that moment on, I remembered having a bottle of blessed oil that belonged to mommy and every morning while getting dressed, I would rub that oil over my left breast and I would say, “He was wounded for my transgressions, He was bruised for my iniquities, the chastisement of His peace was upon them and with His stripes, I AM HEALED”. If you do not have a REAL relationship with God ESPECIALLY when storms come in your life, you will not know how to get through it!
On November 20, 2013, I got prepared to have my needle biopsy and while I was in the shower, I heard Mama singing so loudly in my ears, “I AM HEALED BY WOUNDS IN MY SAVIOR SIDE,” and that made the tears flow and my heart became overwhelmed. As if that wasn’t enough, when Mama died, every time Antoine would see a rainbow, he would always say, “there goes Didi smiling down”.
I was getting dressed and as I began to rub the oil on my left breast, all of a sudden a RAINBOW appeared in the EXACT SPOT that my biopsy occurred and no other place in the room. When I called my sisters, one got teary and the other said, “that is your sign and your promise that DiDi is right there with you and the PROMISE that everything is going to be just fine”. I got myself together still a little afraid, but I had THESE amazing POWERHOUSES around me that were fighting for me because although I was hanging strong and being TOUGH on the outside, my ENTIRE insides were MUSH!
I went to my follow up appointment STILL MAINTAINING a positive attitude and outlook (but NOT telling ANYONE not even my Genia) because whether you know it or not, people will cause you to put more added pressure on yourself than you already have. Many people may not understand it, but I did not care because this was MY FIGHT and for the moment, I had to get through it MY WAY.
The doctor told me that he had good and bad news. He informed me that my results came back as Atypical Hyperplasia. This means that if a person does not have cancer in their family, their chances have increased by 5% and because I DO have cancer in my family (on BOTH SIDES – clearly my parents DO NOT LIKE ME) my chances have gone up by 11% & that placed me in the 42nd percentile. I SAT IN HIS OFFICE WITH A LOOK OF TOTAL SHOCK but now realizing I have to do what I have to do. I then call my personal, doctor (Genia) and nurse (Brenda) because they will get me through any questions that I will have along this journey.
On December 9, I was optimistic going in and scared TO DEATH all at the same time, but I was COVERED and surrounded by PRAYER. My fear has NOTHING to do with my faith. God may have not given us the SPIRIT of FEAR, but who am I kidding, I AM HUMAN i.e. SCARED. Do not even try to act like you are that deep while reading this --- because you are not, you’ll get SCARED even in your walk with GOD. My doctor comes in and we had a good conversation and Brenda came in and talked with me and calmed me down and HOLD UP – Here came the doctor with the GOOD GOOD (big ups to my anesthesiologist Mike) and the next thing I know I am waking up and it is time to go home.
My P.I.C. took off work to stay with me and to take care of me and Antoine, but I am a RATCHET patient. She loved me and let me be PSYCHO, got me through the night and stayed with me the next day. It was time for my follow up and I was hoping that I would hear we are good and they’ll let us move on, but THAT IS NOT THE CASE. I heard, “you need to have another surgery because we HAVE GOT TO FINE CLEAN MARGINS and you will need to have radiation for 6 weeks as well as take Tamoxifen. I believe I went into total SHOCK & sent my PERSON a text message and said I was going to bed. The next thing I hear is, “BANG BANG BANG” (her knocking on my door because I have ignored phone calls and texts). She said, “YOU DO NOT SEND ME A MESSAGE LIKE THAT AND IGNORE ME!!! ARE YOU CRAZY RIGHT NOW?” She was NOT the boss of me, but I allowed her to boss me around twice a year and she feels really good about herself that way.
In my mind, I was still processing and STILL not saying anything to even my secret keeper (Jocee) or to my parents. It was not to keep people out of my business, but it was so I could FOCUS on me and not the opinions of others. Some of those who knew, began to SHOW THEIR LOVE!! LOVE appeared on my doorstep saying, “I heard what you said, but I needed to see you for myself because hearing you is not like seeing you”. My secret keeper knew I was having surgery before Christmas and I would miss our family gathering and all she said was, “NO, you come and we will take care of you.”
It was December 23, the morning of my surgery, and I was so restless because I could not sleep but then I had my person with me. My phone rang and a voice on the other end of the phone said, “I’m doing the worrying now and I love you”. My nurse (Brenda) calmed me down because I was missing Vivian and in tears. I love that Brenda was here with me because not only is she a NURSE, but she has been through what I was going through & her words comforted me. After she spoke with the doctor, I felt ok and we began to laugh.
All through Christmas, I was in the WORSE PAIN of my life (but I did my best to NOT show it) but I was surrounded with love. I had people taking care of ME and again, I was a HORRIBLE patient but I had to do what needed to be done. On December 27, 2013, I had another follow up appointment and to hear Dr. Brackett say, “ok, sweet pea, we got all the cancer out,” made my feet get light and it made me more THANKFUL than I have ever been. On January 14, 2014, I met with my Radiologist to set up my 6 weeks of radiation. I was still smiling and YET GRATEFUL for God’s grace and His Mercy. Through my moments of feeling like it was JUST ME, when I felt I was standing all on my OWN, and even when I felt as if no one would truly understand how I was feeling, God reminded me along the way. On this day, He showed me to my face that it is not just you little girl.
Whether it is chaos, calamity, or crossroads, we have to remember that when God says “I will never leave you or forsake you,” remember to take Him for His word. PEOPLE on our pathways are oftentimes what gets us to the levels in God that we should aspire to achieve. Whether we get there by PURPOSE or by PAIN, just get THERE!! The way will seem lost and that rabbit hole will appear dark and dreary, but KEEP REMEMBERING that your TEMPORARY situation is nothing compared to the FINAL conclusion God has already ordained for you. I thank God on a daily basis that in the midst of it all, “BUT YET – I AM NOT ALONE”. My VICTORY day came on March 5, 2014, my last day of radiation treatments. I rang that bell as if I had lost my entire mind, YET CANCER FREE and YET A GRATEFUL SOMEBODY.
Reading all of the stories of triumph through others, always remembering that in this battle, you have gained sisters for the rest of your life. Some of you may know and some you don't, but in some small way, YOU are connected to this amazing force of women and GOD loves enough to remind you that you are never alone.