My Story

On behalf of the South Florida Cancer Association (SFLCA), I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting our website.  As President, I share the same commitment as Eddie Dutton, our founder and CEO, to diffuse accurate information regarding cancer to everyone we come in contact with.  We want to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families here in South Florida.

My story is quite different from Eddie’s.  In my family, there is no history of cancer; we have been plagued with other diseases including diabetes and hypertension.  Just two months ago, while performing a self exam, I discovered two abnormal growths on my left breast.  I kept the information to myself for four days.  Those closest to me know that I am “allergic” to doctors, dentists and health care providers in general.  To demonstrate that fact, I have been a full-time employee of a local college for nearly six years.  My employer provides full medical and dental insurance.  The insurance cards were in my wallet “just in case”; however, I had never used them.  I hadn’t even taken the time to select a primary care physician.

As Eddie stated in his story, when you are down, you learn who your true friends are.  My former student, Faith, is like a sister to me.  I jokingly say that she is the sister I never wanted.  I have two younger brothers and I like it that way.  There was never any feminine competition.  Faith can read me like a book.  One Sunday morning while she, Eddie and I were having breakfast, she detected that something was wrong.  At that point, I felt that I could no longer suppress this troubling information and I shared my discovery with her.  The fear within me was steadily growing and as a divorcee, I wondered how I would be able to continue to provide for my daughter in college and my son in high school. 

Faith’s first question was, “Have you shared the news with Eddie?”  I had not.  After all, he had enough on his plate.  It had been less than a month since he had finished chemo and radiation.  Both Eddie and Faith are phenomenally strong individuals who have overcome obstacles that would be pitfalls to me.  They are so inspirational and positive; I am truly blessed to have both of them in my life.  As we left the restaurant that Sunday morning, Faith left me no choice but to share the news with Eddie. 

I was extremely reluctant; yet, Eddie was persistent.  We drove around for more than an hour and I honestly believe that we would still be driving to this day if I had not told him about my findings.  Mile after mile, the anger and fear reached new heights.  I had imposed upon myself the diagnosis of breast cancer.  Visions of chemo and radiation had already cost me many precious hours of sleep.  How would I ever overcome this?  My strength could not match that of Faith’s or Eddie’s.

Over the course of the next few days, my best friends urged me to get a check-up.  I vehemently refused; how dare they coerce me!  This was my body and my choice to make.  If I could just ignore this, I would still be able to care for the children for a few more years and then if the worst happened, they would grown and on their own. 

My experience could be compared to a tag-team wrestling match.  Both Faith and Eddie were double teaming me and my friendships with them were in jeopardy if I did not come to my senses.  I begged for some time – just a week to sort things out.  Happily, I buried my stubborn ego and within two days, I agreed to speak with my very close colleague.  She made one phone call and I had a doctor’s appointment the following day.  In my case, this was the absolute best possible solution, I had little time to process the events, much less develop a cowardly attitude and cancel the appointment.  The physician did a complete breast exam and laid all my fears to rest.  He explained that these growths were nothing to be concerned about; however, if I wanted them removed, he would suggest a reputable dermatologist.  They were totally benign.  He also ordered a mammogram, something I had not undergone for more than eight years.  I went back to my colleague and after one more phone call, I had an appointment for the following week.  I kept my promise to all my friends and four days later, I found myself in front of that machine reading the familiar sign that states, “We squeeze because we care.  The results came back two weeks later and everything is normal. 

As you read this, I hope that you will learn from my stupidity.  I could have saved myself and my three of my closest friends from extreme mental anguish had I not been so negligent with my personal health.  October is a special month for Eddie and me.  We celebrate our birthdays, but we also join the millions worldwide in the fight for a cure for breast cancer.  Help us help others.  Please visit our Donation Page and consider a gift which can change the life of someone in need.

Thank you for your support!

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