Warrior Women: Tonya's Story
Hope, Faith and Family.
There are so many powerful stories out there from warrior woman who are battling, or have defeated, breast cancer. No one story is more important than the other, as they are all unique and important in their own right. These stories allow family, friends, and strangers to understand a small fraction of what it is like to live with a disease, like cancer.
One story of hope, faith, and family is from Tonya Alexander.
On a day, immediately following one of her chemo treatments, Tonya talked openly about the day she found out, how she felt, and how the diagnosis has changed her life. More importantly, she shared how her faith in God, and the support of her family and friends, has kept her moving forward and staying positive about the future.
She joked about having “chemo brain” during the interview, a very real side-effect of the drug, and apologized as she couldn’t think of anything else to say. However, a couple days later she delivered a hand-written note that contained her feelings and emotions, set in ink, when she had more time to gather her thoughts. The letter said:
“When I first received my diagnosis I was in shock. I asked myself and God ‘why me!?’ I wasn’t ready to die! What would my kids and my grandchildren do without me?
And then I cried. For 2 weeks straight, I cried. I prayed and I read everything I could about my diagnosis. And then I cried and prayed some more. After that, I decided it was time to fight for my life.
If I could help anyone else on their journey, I would tell that knowledge is power, do your homework and find out what works for you, and your support system. Cancer is not a death sentence!
It is going to help to talk to people that have been through what you’re going through. You are not alone in this!
I am a very spiritual so my faith is, and will always be, with my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. He has helped me get through many bad days.
Lastly, I want woman and men to know that self-examination and regular check-ups can save your life. Early detection can save you, your family, and friends some hardship.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t see color, race, age, occupation or a certain income bracket. So it’s on us to take care of our bodies.”
Tonya’s wish for women and men to keep up on self-examinations and regular check-ups is very pointed. If you know how your body looks and feels when it is healthy, then you should be able to recognize when you feel something that shouldn’t be there – like Tonya did. By doing regular self-exams, Tonya was able to quickly pick-up on the lump she felt in her breast.