In Her Words ~
At the age of 31, I was a happily married stay-at-home mom who had just moved into a house
on the hill in Madison, Wisconsin, with my husband and three young children, aged 5, 2, and 6
months. We were living quietly and happily until my life unexpectedly turned when I received a
Stage 3C, triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis. I remember feeling the rush of emotions
when the doctor called me to deliver the diagnosis. Shock, confusion, and fear consumed my
thoughts as I grappled with the reality of such devastating news. However, amidst the chaos of
swirling emotions, a spark was produced that ignited a deep desire to fight to overcome the
disease, which led to a transformative shift in mind, body, and spirit.
From that day forward, I made a vow to myself. I would never let cancer define me. Instead, I
chose to view it as an opportunity for growth, resilience, reflection, and advocacy. Fueled by
determination, I immersed myself in research to make informed decisions and self-advocated for
treatment options and overall well-being, which included assembling a team of accomplished
breast cancer and other healthcare specialists in Madison, Wisconsin, and Chicago, Illinois, who
were knowledgeable about the unique challenges faced by young African-American women
impacted by an advanced stage breast cancer diagnosis and understood my pursuit to live.
As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, I received incredible support from my family
and friends. During that tumultuous time, my mother dropped everything—even her job—and
moved in with my husband, children, and me to provide the needed essential support. Her
unwavering presence served as a reminder that we were not alone in this battle. And, of course,
my husband has remained a pillar of strength, offering enduring support through this arduous
journey. And because they provided the backbone to my fight, my journey also transformed
them and has left a lasting legacy of hope, resilience, and unity.
I remember praying one night with my earthly mother and asking for healing of the tumors in my
body, but it was not only physical healing that I sought and needed; I knew that the battle
against breast cancer also resided in my mind and spirit. Therefore, I delved into the world of
self-care, exploring holistic practices that would aid my overall well-being. Meditations became
my sanctuary amidst the chaos, allowing me an opportunity to foster a sense of inner peace and
serenity. Through yoga and mindful practices, I discovered the power of resilience and strength
that lay within me.
During a personal prayer session with my spiritual father, I told him I would allow him to use me
to teach and lead people within the world after he healed me and guided me toward survival. It’s
been 17 years since I received the fateful diagnosis by His grace. In many ways, I am grateful
that I was healed and have been focused on creating nurturing and progressive environments
for my own children and the students I teach so they can live and survive well. I strive to instill in
them the values of empathy, resilience, and an unwavering belief in their potential. By fostering
this mindset, I hope to empower them to face any challenges that come their way, transforming
their own lives and the lives of those they encounter.
I no longer ask but understand “Why Me?” and I am compelled to actively channel my energy
more deeply into breast cancer advocacy work, spread awareness, and support those in need via various community initiatives, such as organizing support groups, fundraising events, and
outreach programs. In turn, these endeavors have positively impacted numerous individuals
facing similar challenges, spreading a ripple effect of hope, resilience, unity, and finding solace.
I want to become a symbol of hope and resilience, inspiring others to find the strength within
themselves to face their own battles. I strive to be a tower of hope, radiating positivity and
encouragement to those who may feel lost or overwhelmed. I want everyone to understand that
everyone is here for a purpose, and those moments of joy are no longer taken for granted and
are meant to be shared. Every day we live is a gift; we should seek out the beauty and wonder
of the simplest things and cherish each moment with loved ones.
In closing, breast cancer may have been an unexpected and overwhelming diagnosis, but it has
led to a remarkable journey of personal and communal growth. From transforming my mind,
body, and spirit to becoming a symbol of hope for others and seeking joy within each moment,
my experience has impacted my family and various communities exponentially. I am grateful for
the lessons learned along the way and the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.