Before my first diagnosis, I was living my best life and despite having a family history of breast cancer, I never thought it could happen to me. A native New Yorker, I had published two books and was traveling to speak at different events. However, I was overweight and stressed.
Despite not putting myself first, I did keep my annual mammogram appointment. It was then that abnormal cells were detected, and I was diagnosed with very early stage breast cancer. I never had a lump in my breast or felt anything abnormal. That mammogram appointment truly saved my life.
Last October, I celebrated 5 years cancer free with my friends and family. They joined me at the Peloton studio in New York City to ride with Cody Rigsby. It was so wonderful. A few weeks later, I had my annual mammogram appointment. That was followed by a biopsy, and before October was over, I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time in the same breast. Early detection and regular screening saved me again.
I’m still on my breast cancer journey. I have a surgery coming up this month, but I’m so grateful that both times it was caught early so I had options. Covid-19 complicated my treatments but I persisted.
I’m using my experience to remind people to get checked. I’m an African American woman and my community still has the highest rate of deaths from breast cancer. Many don’t detect it early, and so many don’t have access to the excellent care and treatment I’ve had.
If one person makes a doctor’s appointment because of my message, then sharing my story will be so worth it.
- abnormal cells detected on annual mammogram