AMAZING is the word I use to describe Doretha. She was so appreciative of the session and grateful for our time together. I had a blast with her and her daughter. Shecame ready to be photographed and had the most up beat personality! Doretha is a force to be reckoned with and she is a mover and shaker. Please read her story and share with others so they might be encouraged.
1. What type of cancer were you diagnosed with and when?
I was diagnosed on January 3, 2007. I was diagnosed with Stage II Breast Cancer and it was an aggressive form of breast cancer.
2. How old were you when you were diagnosed?
I was 50 years old at the time when I was diagnosed.
3. What/Who helped you get through your treatment?
My lovely daughter, Andrea, my granddaughter, Jayla and at the time my significant other, Jim helped me get through my treatments. My granddaughter, Jayla was only 2 years old and she would accompany her mom to my treatment and would sit right next to me in a chair as I was administered chemotherapy. She is now 12 years old and she supports me along with her mom, Andrea on anything I do regarding workshops, walks, etc. I am truly blessed with my support system now ten years later. At the time of my treatments, I was living in PA and my sisters drove there to visit me. A friend, Jean, was the brave soul that came to the house to shave my head, which was devastating to see the hair fall to the floor. Having the faith, strength and courage to battle this disease, breast cancer, made me mad and angry for a little and getting mad with it made me push harder to fight it.
4. When were you deemed Cancer Free?
I considered myself cancer free as soon as I went thru my surgery and was told by my oncologist that I was cancer-free.
5. What did you do to celebrate that special day and your anniversary day?
To celebrate that special day and my anniversaries and actually EVERY DAY, I spend time talking and praying to GOD to thank him for allowing me to see another day and keeping me cancer-free. Normally we go out to dinner to celebrate , but this anniversary date which was my 10 year anniversary,(Jan. 3, 2017), my morning started off at Patient First to get checked for a bad cold that I had picked up and I wasn’t feeling well. So, sometimes plans do not go as we want, but one thing for sure, I was getting checked out by the doctors by having blood work performed. So even though I was not able to celebrate as I had planned, I am still fine with the day because I am ALIVE and CANCER-FREE. After I left Patient First feeling relieved that it was nothing but a cold virus, I proceeded to Macy’s to catch a few after Christmas salesJ. I had a nice quiet day to myself and shopped. I made the best of the day and will continue to celebrate EVERY DAY! I NEVER work on my anniversary date. That date is ALL ABOUT ME! After all, I deserve it from all the cries, .treatments… chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, Herceptin and the many prescriptions needed to help with the recovery.
6. Do you have any special charities that you are involved in or host as a survivor?
I formed a 501 c3 breast cancer foundation, “Y-U Breast Cancer Foundation”. Our mission is to take 3-4 women per year on a Road to Recovery Excursion. The day is all about her. Thus far, we have granted 3 women for the trips. We actually returned from a road trip on Dec.29, 2016 as the last one for 2016. Our breast cancer survivor chose to tour Washington, DC. Her mother from Florida accompanied us along with our marketing director. We had a great time touring the Thomas Jefferson Building, The Library of Congress, and The Supreme Court and then we had the opportunity to ride the Big Bus Washington DC, where we enjoyed a lovely bus ride for 2 hours. We finished our trip with dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in Annapolis. I usually fund these trips from my own monies because we do not a lot of fundraising events and funding, but I do know one day real soon someone will donate lots of money to us so we can get that RV to take these women on the excursions. For now, I put the “Road to Recovery” signs on my car and we keep it moving. I have faith that we will get the funding needed to keep these trips for the women battling breast cancer!
7. What would you say to someone that is just being diagnosed?
I know first-hand how devastating it can be to hear the words “you have cancer”. Please know that you are not alone. There are many of us willing to call you, talk with you, cry with you and do anything that we can to comfort you. You will begin to converse with people about varies subjects and you will find that more times than not, many of the people that you talk with have either been diagnosed with cancer or is a care-giver to someone who has or is currently battling cancer. Stay strong and focused, pray and keep the faith!
Allow friends and family to help you. You might find it tough to receive help because I am sure you are the one always helping others and do not know how to accept help from others. Friends and family really do want to help but often they just don’t know what to do…so please let them help you. They really do want to help. Remember they are affected too because they love you and want to see you through this ordeal. Most importantly surround yourself around positive people.