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A Celebration of Survival | Six Breast Cancer Survivors Share Their Stories

Six Breast Cancer Survivors Share Their Stories

Photographs By Tony Bennett

BEVERLY MCCOMB STAGE IV TRIPLE NEGATIVE BREAST CANCER METASTASIZED TO THE BONE LA GRANGE, KY

BEVERLY MCCOMB
STAGE IV TRIPLE NEGATIVE BREAST CANCER METASTASIZED TO THE BONE
LA GRANGE, KY

I first and foremost give God the credit in my healing, then my husband Greg, and of course, I couldn’t have done it without my doctor. With my third diagnosis, I’ve had multiple surgeries and plenty of hospital time. It had become impossible to do everyday tasks due to my poor physical shape, so I decided to join yoga and barre classes at the YMCA and the all-breast cancer survivor dragon boat competitive Louisville paddling team, Derby City Dragon. Beating cancer is a team sport. It’s hard to give cancer-diagnosed women advice if I don’t know their story, but we all can and will be the hunters, providers and protectors. Pray big and ask God for exactly what you need. Believe big and believe in healing. CRY AND GRIEVE WHEN YOU NEED TO, BUT DON’T STAY THERE. Receive big and be prepared for all the blessings that can come from this journey. As for the future, I live one day at a time. I try not to worry about tomorrow but look forward to it. There may be a day that I will need to resume chemo again. If and when that day happens, I will look for opportunities that come with it. –As told to Avery Walts

 

DIANA PREWITT INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA SCOTTSBURG, IN

DIANA PREWITT
INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA SCOTTSBURG, IN

Cancer is the last thing I ever expected to happen to me. I HAD GOTTEN AN ABNORMAL MAMMOGRAM AND KEPT PUTTING IT OFF UNTIL MY HUSBAND MADE ME GO TO AN APPOINTMENT. HE SAVED MY LIFE. My greatest weapons against cancer have been my faith, my family and my dear friend Dawn Hinton. They gave me all the support and strength and then some. Have faith and listen to the women who have been through this. Don’t feel guilty about leaning on your family or friends. Be strong and think positive and fight like hell. You are stronger than you know and pray. I pay forward to women that I hear about. I talk to them and tell them what I was told, and I try to comfort them and tell them I am here anytime if they need to talk. Dawn has been through this and she stood by me every step of the way. I am going to enjoy my life and family and thank God for every day he gives me. My motto is to sing like no is listening, and dance like no one is watching. –As told to Avery Walts

 

JESSICA POOLER BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR; STAGE II TRIPLE NEGATIVE INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA MEMPHIS, IN

JESSICA POOLER
BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR; STAGE II TRIPLE NEGATIVE INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA
MEMPHIS, IN

My greatest allies in the fight against cancer are God, my husband, my children, family and my church community. I PRAY AND PRAISE GOD DAILY. HE WILL ALWAYS PROVIDE. After this experience, I had to cut my work hours down to part-time. My employer was a blessing and allowed me to work from home when necessary. I keep moving forward … just being me: wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend. –As told to Stacy Thomas

 

GINA ROBINSON TWO-TIME BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR; STAGE I DUCTAL CARCINOMA IN SITU; STAGE I INVASIVE DUCTAL NEW ALBANY, IN

GINA ROBINSON
TWO-TIME BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR; STAGE I DUCTAL CARCINOMA IN SITU; STAGE I INVASIVE DUCTAL
NEW ALBANY, IN

My strength and my sense of humor pulled me through. I also relied on the support of my pink sisters (who are also known as my fellow breast cancer survivors). IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONNECT WITH OTHER SURVIVORS… STAY BUSY AND FIGHT HARD! I am involved with Gilda’s Club, Derby City Dragons Boat Team, a team made up of breast cancer survivors, and attend Pink Pilates weekly. Three months ago, I started a new career as a nurse with the VA clinic in Scottsburg. I realized that I needed to start taking care of myself and be there for my family and friends as they were for me. I am so happy working normal hours. No more long nights and weekends. I work Monday through Friday now and have more time to do the things I love. I stay strong. The first three letters in cancer are C-A-N. I know I can do this. I want to be there for other survivors and help them realize they can beat cancer too! –As told to Stacy Thomas

 

PAMELA BRITO BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR; STAGE I INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA NEW ALBANY, IN

PAMELA BRITO
BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR; STAGE I INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA
NEW ALBANY, IN

When I was diagnosed, I had just finished school and was in the process of changing careers. Because I was in between jobs, I was without medical insurance at that time. I took advantage of the health services provided at the Family Health Clinic on Spring Street. It is so important for women to get screened. There are numerous facilities that provide these services to the public. I personally know a lot of women who are afraid to go or put off screening because of lack of insurance. I want to raise awareness to women the importance of catching cancer as early as possible, and there are organizations such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation that help women financially seek care and treatment. I am grateful and humbled by this experience. I love to meditate. When I was diagnosed, it was a lot of information at first. It was then that I started taking time out for myself, relaxing and meditating. Through this experience I have grown spiritually. I AM EXCITED TO GET BACK OUT THERE IN LIFE AND RAISE AWARENESS. I am about to become a grandmother again for the second time. I take time now to notice details. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t take things for granted. I am happy. My circle of support is small but it is strong. –As told to Stacy Thomas

 

DAWN HINTON LOBULAR CARCINOMA STAGE III SELLERSBURG, IN

DAWN HINTON
LOBULAR CARCINOMA STAGE III SELLERSBURG, IN

I moved in with my elderly mother and aunt to take care of her and six months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It turns out they took care of me. After seeking advice from my gynecologist in 2012, I was told not to worry about anything and that cancer didn’t run in my family. She told me it was just a swollen milk gland. The tumor grew four times in size and on Dec. 5 of that year, I had a double mastectomy. DON’T LET A DOCTOR TELL YOU THAT YOU DON’T NEED TO BE CHECKED. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. After suffering severe burns from radiation and chemotherapy, I was losing mobility. I called my old dance studio and asked the instructor for help through yoga to help with stretching. She, Cindy Whalen, now teaches yoga to cancer patients at Inner Spring Yoga in Jeffersonville. I don’t know what my future holds, but I couldn’t have made it without my fiancé, my stepdaughter, and my nieces and nephews. I fought so hard for them. I would say to myself, “I am strong, I am a fighter, I am a warrior, I am in God’s hands, and I will be a survivor.” I still use that on bad days, but now I can change that sentence because I AM a survivor. –As told to Avery Walts

 

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