My journey began at a very early age with sickness. At the age of 15 I had my first well-woman check-up and there was a lump in my breast. At that time, in 1979, they determined it was just my monthly cycle, so no action was taken. At the age of 24 I had early stages of uterine cancer, so I had to have a hysterectomy to prevent any further growth. I believe God has always been in control in my life, because by the age of 24 I had birthed two beautiful sons.
At the age of 28 there was another lump in my breast and at that time the doctor suggested it to be removed, fearing breast cancer considering my history. Thank God it was benign! At the age of 31 another lump appeared and it too had to be removed, by this time I am very sad, thinking –what does this mean. Am I going to die from breast cancer? The very next day my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40. Now I’m thinking ok Lord, breast cancer is not for me, it’s my sister’s illness.
Very clearly, the Lord said; not your turn yet! Very baffled and not knowing what lies ahead for me with this sickness, I decided there is a direct connection with my sister and I had to be more diligent with my breast health care.
At the age of 35, I had another lump and lumpectomy but again it was benign. I was so excited and I was determined, no more mammograms for me, because there’s no need. They have all been benign.
I then attended a Women’s breakfast the following weekend, and guess what the speaker/doctor wanted to discuss with us women? Breast Cancer! I said to my table mate; nobody wants to hear about breast cancer!
Immediately, the room went dark and there was a direct light from the doctor that was speaking to myself, and God spoke very clearly and said; You have breast cancer! I’m looking around and all I could see was darkness but when I looked at the doctor, she was standing in the light. The same light that was shining on me! Well, I went home and shared my experience with my husband and he said; make an appointment, God has spoken and he has given you direction and you must heed to that.
After contacting my physician, the process began, mammogram, needle biopsy, lumpectomy and diagnosis on September 11, 2003. Stage IIIB Aggressive Invasive Carcinoma. By December 2003 I was taken into surgery for ten hours to have both breast removed and reconstruction! Wow, I thought, I will be 40 years old in January and I will be starting treatment to help prolong my life with a poison named – “CHEMO.” Then it hit me I could die, and that is when the what ifs came creeping in.
Then my Father said; but seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteous; and all things shall be added unto you. Then my Father said; This is to build a stronger warrior in you for me!
My question surfaced, what am I supposed to do now Lord? God said; tell your story of how I have spared your life and you teach others to fight! As I followed the direction of the Holy Spirit, he birthed Fighting Together to Save Lives, a 501c3 nonprofit breast cancer organization to raise awareness in the community.
Breast Cancer does not discriminate, it affects all populations of a people, although African American women die at a higher rate than any other race. I vow to reach out to all communities and all that will hear me – you don’t have to die. Early detection saves lives!
Our organization has created several events:
A stage play, “Living with Breast through Christ” 2007 – 2009; a health initiative, “Stepping for a Cure” 2010 – 2012; a fun night, “Karaoke for a Cure” 2016; and a special night to honor breast cancer survivors, “Dancing with Breast Cancer Stars” 2014 – Current.
“Dancing with Breast Cancer Stars” is an evening where we honor survivors who have been afflicted by this disease and those who have lost their battle.
We are again hosting our 3Rd Annual Dancing with Breast Cancer Stars on October 28, 2017 at the Doubletree by Hilton, 3203 Quebec St Denver, CO 80203. The tickets are on sale now – for more information go to fttsl.com or contact Jackie Wesley at 303-704-2958.
We are Celebrating Life!
By: Jackie Wesley, Survivor