Diagnosed September 2015

Yvonne JohnsonMy breast cancer story begins in August 2015. I just had a birthday. I was going to be a grandmother in November and graduate with my master's degree in Spring 2016. Life was good and then it happened. During a self-breast exam, I felt a lump in my right breast. I called my doctor to schedule an ultrasound, and then a mammogram. I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in September 2015. So many thoughts entered my mind. Stage three? Why didn't I feel a lump sooner? What could I have done to prevent this? Am I going to live to see my granddaughter be born and grow? Why me?

The next step would be a lumpectomy and having a chemo port placed in my chest. Then, chemotherapy and radiation to follow. To say it was a trying time for me was an understatement. The physical and mental exhaustion were overwhelming.

Hair loss, weight fluctuation and overall body changes began to weigh me down so I prayed for strength, healing and perseverance. I refused to give up and I did not let cancer win. My daughter, my parents and my brother took great care of me.

Sometimes you have to humble yourself and let others help you. I decided to remain positive.

I stayed enrolled in college even if I had to be driven to class on the hard days. My teachers and classmates worked with me. My work family was supportive and flexible. I welcomed my beautiful granddaughter into this world and graduated on time.

After several long conversations with God, I have found some peace with my diagnosis. It is my hope that my story will encourage someone else who is going through the same, or similar, battle. I am a survivor and will continue to appreciate life and what is next to come.

I would tell someone battling breast cancer to be strong and never lose faith. I know it is hard, but keep living. Do not let breast cancer win and take over your mind in a negative manner. Use this test as your testimony. Help others find their way to heal and doing so will help you heal as well. We all have a path to fulfill our destiny. It is the journey where we experience the ups and down. Embrace the high moments and grow from the low ones. Make each moment count and live each day to the absolute fullest.