Real People, Real Stories
Breast cancer survivor
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 1989. My first thoughts: I don’t have time for this! But, God willing, it will be okay! I had a new 3 month old grandson (this is how I keep count of my years of survivorship!! he is now 21!) and needed to travel back and forth to Atlanta to see him.
After surgery and reconstruction, I was good to go again. I was asked to facilitate a cancer support group at my church, Second Baptist, which I did for 10 years with a psychologist/member of the church. After a year or so, a member of the group told me about Anne Turnage and her new cancer support group – CanCare. I met with Anne, and went through the training in September 1992, Class # 7 ! Hey, been there ever since! My BEST memories of Anne on the phone are: “Gladys, get up here, we need help!” or “ Gladys, go to this address and visit with this person. She only speaks Spanish!”
Then, I found out we didn’t have a photo album, so I started taking pictures – many of which are still in the office and have been used for many events. I still take some snapshots – also took some movies!
Thirteen years later, my doctor said I had breast cancer in the other breast. I did the same thing; surgery and reconstruction. Again, I was good to go! Still going!
Besides my work with CanCare, I have been working as a Consumer Advocate for years with Channel 2, NBC, and currently at FOX 26. I have promoted CanCare through these mediums.
It is my belief that God puts us here for a purpose, and mine seems to be helping others who have been stricken with a disease that I have also dealt with and perhaps I can share some of my “trials” with them. I have spoken with hundreds of folks – through many groups, and individually through CanCare. My sister also had breast cancer in 1998 and when I visited her one spring, I was invited to attend a luncheon of her Bosom Buddies. When we arrived at the meeting/luncheon I was not allowed to enter because I was not a Bosom Buddy and I said: Hold on, I am twice a bosom buddy! Humor is a great release of tensions and is something I use often.
Hope, humor, and knowledge go a long way to conquer our fears of “what if” and “why me” and allow us to return to the role of daily living not just “waiting” for the next bomb to drop.
CanCare has been serving people with cancer since 1990. All services are confidential and free of charge. To talk to someone surviving your diagnosis, click here.