By Pearl B. Spencer, Special to AFRO

Do your research, develop a plan and stick with it.

July 1990 will always remain green in my memory. That was the day my doctor told me that the lumps in my left breast were cancerous. My journey started 29 years ago, and thanks be to God, I am still cancer free.  

On reflecting, I recall how I found the lumps in my left breast. One night I had a dream where I saw my deceased grandmother all dressed in white trying to warn me about something, but I could not figure out what it was. 

I woke up scared, crossed my hands on my breasts and I felt the lumps. 

The next day I called my family doctor who ordered a biopsy. When the results came in, my doctor requested my presence as soon as possible. Immediately, I became very nervous, and could not drive, so I had someone take me there. I knew it was not pleasant. I was even more nervous the moment that she told me it was cancerous and had to take a mammogram, although I had one that was negative a few months before. 

I had surgery twice to make sure there was no cancer left around the two lumps. This was followed by 45 days of radiation and chemo. After the second round of chemo, my hair started to drop in the shower, but I was ready and bought a wig before that happened. 

I did some research about cancer and decided to fight this disease, so I drank lots of green teas. From then on, I tried to avoid fried  foods and ate lots of fruits and vegetables with my meals. I also drank some aloe vera juice now and again and during radiation I rubbed the aloe vera gel on my breast which stopped the burning.  I had stopped drinking regular milk and switched to soy milk, instead, for a few years. I still get nauseated sometimes, but I suck on candy or chew gum which helps. Most importantly, I still have a lot of support from family and friends.

I try to get some exercise and thank God every day for what He is doing for  me and all cancer survivors. I do believe that my guardian angel came to me in that dream. I have to stay positive and examine my breasts every month to make sure there are no lumps. Sometimes I get paranoid and feel all over for lumps. I also make sure that I get a mammogram and blood test yearly before seeing the oncologist. Since I have retired, I have joined the mall walkers at the Mall of Prince George’s County to get my daily walk. I feel so blessed to survive this deadly disease for 29 years, and I will continue to praise the Lord for all He is doing for us.

Sincerely,

A Survivor