Grateful for My Breast Cancer Mentor

I will never forget February 8, 2008.   The date of my breast cancer diagnosis.  I immediately went back to 1988.  Remembering, the eight weeks I was a caregiver to my sister-in-law who had breast cancer and died quietly in our spare bedroom.   Caring for her was a gratifying experience, but it was painful and heartbreaking to watch a loved one slowly departing this life.  On February 8, 2008, I saw myself going down the same path.

But several days after the diagnosis this wonderful woman, who is a breast cancer survivor, entered my life.  She was the founder and president of a newly formed organization, Sisters Network, Inc., – Milwaukee Affiliate.   An organization dedicated to providing supportive, educational, and advocacy outreach services to increase breast cancer awareness for African-American women in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and surrounding areas.

At the time, she was employed as a full-time nursing instructor and simultaneously implementing this new and innovative non-profit organization.  Yet, she found the time to lend individual support to a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient. 

My Breast Cancer Mentor was there or within reach as I went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation.   Utilizing the information and tips she provided, I navigated through the treatments with little or no distress.

For the past five plus years, I have watched my Breast Cancer Mentor build a strong organization.  One that is well respected throughout the city and surrounding areas known for providing survivors, caregivers, and others with a broad range of programs, events, and activities designed to increase breast cancer awareness.

Because of the long-relationship with my Breast Cancer Mentor and the other survivors at Sisters Network, Inc., I have been able to make the transition from:

  • being a Victim – I lived in fear of the “unknown.” Always seeking an answer to the question, “breast cancer, Why Me?”  
  • to living as a Warrior – I will not let breast cancer define who I am.  I live in the present moment expressing and demonstrating gratitude, daily, for the wonderful Gift of Life.

As my Cancerversary date grows closer, I wanted to honor and express heartfelt love and appreciation to my Breast Cancer Mentor, she continues to:

  • inspire me to look beyond my condition;
  • uplift me spiritually (a praying woman)’
  • educate me on the positive benefits of mindfulness, wellness, and spirituality.

Thank you, Phyllis Holder, for all you have done, all you continue to do, and all I know you will continue to do in your untiring effort to promote breast cancer awareness for the under diagnosed and undertreated population in the Milwaukee community.

My Mentor – Cancer Retreat

photo

Cancer Help Program-The New School of Commonweal

My Mentor – Top Row and Center

photo

NAACP Young Professionals Adult – Fundraiser:  A Tribute to Services Provided by Sisters Network to the Community

During this final season of my life, I am going on a journey to define "ME." Opening up and going outside of my comfort zone to redefine my life. Exploring and pursuing new interests that will lead to personal happiness, serenity, and tranquility. In undertaking this mission, overcoming the FEAR of starting this new venture as a blogger will be my greatest challenge. Fear has played a large role in my life, but I overcame the FEAR of breast cancer, chronic pain associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and Sleep Apnea. My new mantra: FEAR has two meanings: "(1) Forget Everything And Run, or (2) Face Everything and Rise. The Choice is Mine." Blogging here I come ready or not!!!

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3 comments on “Grateful for My Breast Cancer Mentor
  1. Yvonne, this is a great blog. You are getting better by leaps and bounds. Keep the good work.
    Love, Guy.

    Like

  2. What a beautiful woman. You can really see her spirit in both of those photos. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

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