Inspirational Story #1

Fatima L. Matson: Breast Cancer SurvivorWhen I was 17 years old, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. This diagnosis rocked our family to its core and after a 3-year battle, God decided that my mother had fought a good fight, but now was the time for rest and peace. On August 6, 2003, my mother passed away and her battle with breast cancer ended. As difficult a time as it was, something beautiful arose from my mother’s fight against cancer; a series of lessons.

The most important thing I learned from my mother through her journey was not the devastation that breast cancer causes, not even the hurt and pain caused by losing a loved one, but that as a woman facing incredible odds, she had an undeniable power, will, and determination to evolve and she refused to allow dying of cancer to be her legacy. I firmly believe, coupled with the awesome favor of God, that we all possess such a power and if we hold tight to that in the midst of our circumstance there is nothing on this planet that can defeat us.

This lesson was all too important on March 14, 2011 when at 28 years old I too was diagnosed with breast cancer. When I could’ve lost it all mentally, I instead tapped into that power, learned from my mother and sprang into action. With love of God, a clear mind, and the overwhelming support of my family, I confronted my battle head on and even though I am still being treated, I know I will beat this.

Randy Couture, former UFC Heavy and Lightweight Champion once said,

"Although most fighters believe that the fight is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, they train 90 percent physical and 10 percent mental. That is going to have to change as MMA continues to evolve or those fighters will be left behind."

I believe this theory applies to fighters in general, no matter what fight you’re fighting. Even though we hear this, and we say we believe it, it’s often difficult as human beings to train our minds to receive it. Sometimes our mental negativity or downright fear gets the best of us; all of us. This couldn’t be more true for the hundreds of thousands of women fighting breast cancer. If anything comes out of my fight against this disease, I hope that it will be helping women to grab hold of the same power that has been birthed out of my struggle.

Peace and Love!
Fatima L. Matson
Breast Cancer Survivor

Inspirational Story #2

Breast Cancer Survivor: Khalilah MossIn October of 2010, I found a lump in my left breast during my self breast exam, which resulted in a trip to my doctor. Subsequently, I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at the age of 31, just 9 days before I was to turn 32 years old. I am the first in my family to have been diagnosed with breast cancer and found myself searching for answers. As an early childhood school teacher, I began to do research and look for signs or reasons that this was happening to me. I lacked the understanding and reasoning for it all. The fear of dying existed within my soul and here I was unmarried with no kids...this diagnosis would not be my end I declared. I remember my parents telling me God is in control and you will beat this. I developed the attitude and spirit of a fighter.

As a precautionary measure, I requested for a mastectomy of my right breast. Although, this was a hard decision for me, I felt it was the best decision to make for the betterment of my health. I received chemotherapy and radiation treatment as well. A Blessing for me is that I became a part of a wonderful support group called “Sisters by Choice”. In this support group, a lot of my questions were answered and I have formed long lasting friendships with women who have shared my experiences. The group has been a key factor to helping me with my healing process and recovery as a Breast Cancer Survivor.

With the help of God, my family, and friends, I understand that this “Journey” has shaped me into the person I am today. Yes, there have been tears and some bad days. However, through it all I am a “SURVIVOR”!!!

Khalilah Moss

Financial Resources

Financial Assistance

Any uninsured, low-income (family income not greater than 200% of the federal poverty level) woman who has been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer should go to the county health department in her county of residence. Information regarding the program can also be obtained from the Georgia Screening and Treatment Unit by email cabroom@dhr.state.ga.us or by telephone (404) 657-7735 or visit www.health.state.ga.us.

Inspirational Story #3

Breast Cancer SurvivorMy name is Sonya Jefferson-Patton. I am 47, a mother (1 daughter), a grandmother (1 grandson), and a 6 year breast cancer survivor.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer November 2006 …7 months after my first mammogram at age 40.

During a self-examination in the shower I felt a lump (THE LUMP).

I had never felt the marble sized lump before. Immediately, a wave of fear came over me. I knew I had to go to the doctor but I was too afraid. My gut told me something was wrong, but I waited for over a month before I went to the doctor.

When I finally went to the doctor, they immediately ordered a biopsy. After a few days of waiting, I got the dreaded news that it was breast cancer. I thought my world was going to end. After hearing the news, I could hear nothing else my doctor was talking about. I mean, her lips were moving to discuss the diagnosis, but I heard NOTHING else until she finished the discussion with the beautiful words…THIS IS NOT A DEATH SENTENCE.

I did a lot of crying and praying after I was first diagnosed, but I decided that this was not going to be my death sentence. I had to get up to put on my “war clothes” to fight!!!

Even though my daughter was away in college, both she and the rest of my family were my support. I knew that with them and God on my side, anything and all things were possible.

I had breast conservation therapy also known as a lumpectomy in January 2007. It was a success, and no lymph nodes were affected.I had to undergo 8 rounds of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiation, and 1 year of an additional treatment called Herceptin. Even though chemotherapy was rough, and I ended up hospitalized for 3 days with neutropenic fever, I was NOT defeated. All I could think was I WAS CANCER FREE!!!!

Before breast cancer, I rarely participated in breast cancer events. Now, I participate in 5k race/walks for the cure. I also use my experience as a way to reassure and assist anyone I come in contact with that is going through breast cancer.

I think joining a support group like Sisters by Choice was helpful. You have a group of like-minded people that are encouraging and uplifting. They understand the struggle a breast cancer patient has. Plus, the support group provides a wealth of information.

Keep God first in all you do!!!
Sonya Jefferson-Patton

Inspirational Story #4

I am a Breast Cancer Survivor of 14 years.

Breast Cancer Survivor: Dorothy E. McMichaelThis deadly disease has affected two generations of women in my family. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1940; a radical mastectomy was performed and she lived to the age of 85. My mother lost her battle with breast cancer in 1973. I knew that one day it would have an impact on me.

My family history with breast cancer made me very aware of the importance of having my yearly mammograms and doing self-breast exams. I was diagnosed July 1999, after my yearly mammogram showed calcifications in my right breast. A biopsy was performed, a few days later, I received the dreaded news that I had breast cancer.

After the initial shock, I took a deep breath. I reflected on my life and how this disease would affect my family. I did a lot of crying but I pulled myself together because I knew I had to focus on the journey that I was about to take for recovery. My treatment plan consistent of surgery (lumpectomy), six months of chemotherapy, and six weeks of radiation.

I wanted to live, and if that was the treatment plan, it was something I would have to endure. I retained my faith in God and my relationship with him grew stronger. From that point on, I really had a desire to be a voice and an advocate for fighting breast cancer.

In 2003, I became a Community Patient Navigator with the Avon Foundation Breast Center within the Grady Health System. I am able to navigate other breast cancer patients through the health care system, give them support during after surgery and during chemotherapy and radiation, and encourage survivors to share their stories with newly diagnosed women; this gives them the support they need to heal emotionally.

I am also an active member in Sisters by Choice a Breast Cancer Support Group. My role as a member is to identify women who need help; provide education on the importance of early detection; and give assistance with the process of obtaining screening and needed follow up care.

With my Faith in God and the support of my family, I survived the storm of Breast Cancer.

Dorothy E. McMichael