A Young Woman’s Journey Through Breast Cancer

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It was by far, the most shocking experience of my life. At age 16, just a sophomore in high school, I was showering for school one day when I felt a lump in my breast.

Internally, I shrugged it off as if it were nothing. I didn’t think anything of it and went on to school. I didn’t even tell my mom. At this point there was no reason for me to suspect anything was wrong. I had no family history of breast cancer. I wasn’t overly concerned because breast cancer was just not anything in my vocabulary.

That was until two weeks later when I went for a routine physical and the doctor told me and my mom that the lump in my breast was cause for concern, and large enough that they should get more tests. I saw the concern on my mother’s face. And, with the doctor’s reaction, I began to feel a tremendous amount of fear. The doctor even struggled with whether or not to pursue treatment because they felt I was just a young girl, developing rapidly and the lump could be any number of things.

After getting the biopsy the doctor assured me that it was “just a precaution,” but I learned that not only was the lump cancerous, but that I was suffering from one of the more aggressive forms of the disease.

I was in shock! I heard the words but it was like, ‘Wonk, wonk, wah, wonk, wonk, wonk.’ I was absolutely devastated. It took literally weeks to grasp what she had just told me.
Although the breast cancer was caught before it could spread elsewhere, I was still a 16-year-old who had to maneuver through the course of treatments with little counseling and understanding of the implications that my decisions could have on my life.

Doctors recommended that I have a double mastectomy in which both of my breasts would be removed to prevent further spread of the cancer, but, after doing some homework, I decided with my mom to take it one step at a time and get the first breast treated and then see what I needed to do next.

It was a risky decision, I will admit, particularly since I had fibrous breasts, which could mask additional growths. Because I had the more aggressive form of breast cancer, there also was a chance that I would continue to grow other lumps throughout my life.

Additionally, the prospect of dealing with a double mastectomy at age 16 was a bombshell to my already fragile self-esteem as a teen battling weight and self-image issues. It was just a horrible combination of things I was dealing with. Would I ever get a date? Would anyone take me to the junior prom with no breasts? It was too much thrown at me at once.”

But today at age 30, as a motivational speaker and gospel singer, I have truly found in God the grace and strength to live my life on my own terms without fear. A 14-year survivor, I am a spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen for The Cure Circle of Promise campaign and am enjoying a new marriage and finishing up my doctoral degree.

Most recently, I was even afforded the opportunity to travel to Africa where I learned of young girls who are battling aggressive breast cancer at age 13 and 14. I toured the hospitals and villages encouraging them to fight for their lives, and praying that my life would be an example for them.

So, on September 6th of this year, I recorded a live CD/DVD of original songs of healing and inspiration that I wrote through my own experience, and will use 100% of the proceeds to benefit the breast cancer foundation in Nigeria that treats those young women.

I hope to be a living example that great things can come out of hard times, with a little prayer and tenacity.

For more information on me and my journey, or how to book an appearance or purchase a CD/DVD please visit me at www.nikiahammondsblakely .com or on myspace at www.myspace.com/nikiahammondsblakley.

Comments   

0 ycww 2008-10-17 13:18
My 18 year old who is pregant and due in January just had a mastectomy on her left breast a couple of weeks ago. Her doctors also said they may have to come back and take the other breast. She and the baby are doing fine now. Prayer has been the only way we have made it through and will make it through. Thank you for your story I am definitely going to share it with her.
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0 gg 2008-10-14 13:37
Thanks for the inspirational story. We have found a cyst in my 11yo breast. Keeping a watch on it and praying. Thanks again.
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