The Truth About Breast Cancer And Black Women


There are millions of women affected by Breast Cancer every second of the day, and so many have survived and conquered this awful dreadful disease. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life time. This statistic shows the importance of  women get annual mammograms and performing self breast exams. In spite of the latest technology and more women being proactive there still remains that cold hard truth, the incidence of breast cancer increases annually among black women. Why is that? Well here are few reasons this statement still remains true. One major reason behind this is that there are so many women who have no insurance or are under insured. Because of this, it causes many women not to get mammograms or even see a physician. Other barriers include lack of access to good health care, low income or worried about the cost, and the fear of bad news. Working as an oncology nurse for years have allowed me to see the struggles that these women face. It's not easy for them to go through something like Breast Cancer, but I am so inspired by their fight, their drive and their will to kick cancer in the butt!  

I recently had a chance to interview an amazing women and friend by the name of Mrs. Lisa Roberson. Lisa is a breast cancer survivor and she knows exactly what it's like to deal with this terrible awful disease up close and personal. Check out what Lisa had to say about her personal experience and journey with Breast Cancer...

Breast Cancer Survivor - Lisa Roberson  


Who is Lisa Roberson?

Lisa: I am a wife of 25 years with two wonderful bonus sons. When I am not working I can be found spending time with my friends, family and my husband and sons. I love to bake, dance, knit, read, and watch HGTV. I am also working on my book so I can share my story and give godly advice.

When were you diagnosed with breast cancer and how did you find out?

Lisa: I was diagnosed in May 2007. I found a lump (ladies please do self exams) and went to the doctor. The doctor confirmed that I had not one but two lumps. I had to do an ultra sound, and a needle biopsy. Then shortly after I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer ( Ductal Carcinoma  In-Situ) the doctor said for a lack of a better word "it's a garden variety" (not aggressive).

What type of cancer treatments did you have to go through and how did you respond to the treatments?

Lisa: My treatments included surgery, which consisted of removing 18 lymph nodes, a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery all at the same time. I  remember calling it a "one stop shop". I knew I would not want to come back and under go surgery after my mastectomy. I had eight rounds of chemotherapy that included drugs called Adriamycin and Tamoxifen. I didn't get sick and I actually gained weight. I did have what I called a "hick up" and I had a blood clot in my neck with my port-a -cath. I was forced to learn  how to give myself injections for ten days to dissolve the clot. I then had to take Coumadin during the rest of my treatments. 

Did you have a support system and who did it include?


Lisa: I did have a strong support system which included five people: My husband, Godmother, and a Elder from my church. It also included a good friend from work, and a good friend from church.
You will find out that when you start to tell loves ones and those close to you, some may fall apart. I found out that my support group needed a support group. Lol! I told my parents and they fell apart. My parents lived out of state and were having major health challenges themselves, so I lied and told them it was not as serious as they thought. By the time I flew home to visit for Christmas I had received my last treatment two weeks before. I went home wearing a wig, but I did not look sick. When I explained  to them they understood. Most people my parents age would have never seen anyone walk through breast cancer. By the time they found out their friends had cancer they were in their last stages of the disease. Another reason I chose to lie was that my father called my husband and told him that a close friend of his had cancer and when his friend had surgery he was exposed to the air  and the cancer spread which caused the friend to pass away. This I found out was a pretty common untruth in the African American and Hispanic culture.

How did you get to this point in your life and what advice can you give to women newly diagnosed?

Lisa: My advice to women who are newly diagnosed is :
  • Chose wisely who you tell about your diagnosis. People mean well, but you need people encouraging, upbeat, strong in faith, to keep you up lifted during this difficult time.
  • You will go through a wide range of emotions and it is OKAY!
  • Ask questions.
  • Take an objective strong family member/friend with you to appointments and a tape recorder. 
  • Once you are diagnosed it is okay to get a second and even a third opinion. 
  • Make sure you make all of your decisions based on you and not on what someone else has told you. Everyone is different, and this is probably the first time in your life where it's more than okay to be SELFISH!!!
  • Find a space where you can decompress and relax on a daily basis.



How has what you been through equipped you in your journey now?

Lisa: Let me preface that everyone's journey is different due to their diagnosis and treatment plan. 
During my journey I learned my attitude was 90% of the battle. I like most people really did not have time to be sick. I know that was due to the responsibilities I had, and that is what kept me going. I was still able to work, take care of my grandmother, and serve at my church. 
I learned to listen to my body and stop when my body said to stop. When I came home from work  at 5:59 pm my body said shut it down, which meant stretching out on my sofa in my TV room. My sofa was my healing place during my treatments. Also, one of the most important lessons from my journey that's now my mantra " If it dose not bless me or honor me I do not have to do it, and I can say NO!"

More Information about Lisa Roberson:

Lisa is an assistant project manager and a licensed clinical massage therapist which was birthed from her breast cancer journey. Her company is Renewing Your Best You Holistic Massage Therapy. where her tag line is " Healing health and Changing Lives"
Her focus is Arvigo Mayan Abdominal Therapy (fertility challenges, Preconception , conception, postpartum, prostate issues, endometriosis, fibroids and cysts), Oncology massage and she offer clients relief from discomfort caused by stressful or active lifestyles, traumatic accidents and surgeries. Lisa is passionate about educating clients wherever they happen to be on their life journey.
Lisa office is located at Be Well Studio 17900 Dixie Highway Suite 11 Homewood, Illinois.
Lisa can be reached by email at renewingyourbestyou@yahoo.com 
 


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