• Charlene Stevens Jenkins

A Word About Survival

Updated: Oct 14

October is filled with the recognition of special events and activities. In addition to Breast Cancer Awareness, I can identify with the other October recognitions which include Emotional Wellness, National Bullying Prevention, National Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness, and National Women’s Small Business Month. Given my journey, I most always write about breast cancer in October, and I don’t mind speaking about it when I have the opportunity. I wrote my very first blog in October of 2019, the day I took my last oral chemo pill and launched my website www.charlenestevensjenkins.com. I’ve been cancer free for 7 years and 8 months. Praise God! I’m so deeply grateful for early detection, and glad I had the biopsy my doctor recommended. I am so deeply grateful for other survivors and want to share what some in my family have to say. My first cousin, Cynthia Dunham, has been a survivor for 8 years and 7 months. Her advice is “Women and men need to know they can survive breast cancer when it is detected early,” and she gives God all the glory for her healing. Another first cousin, Gwendolyn Stevens Williams, has been a survivor for 1 year and 3 months and she also agrees “complete healing comes from God.” Aunt Rosa King has been a survivor for 7 years and 4 months. Her advice is mainly for younger people. “If you find out that you have cancer, don’t be afraid. Do whatever you need to do to take care of it and get the necessary treatment.” Aunt Brunel Terry has been a survivor for 3 years and 6 months. She said, “It’s not easy, but just hang in there. Keep looking up to the Lord and He will strengthen you through it. Be patient.” Aunt Clara Jenkins has been cancer free for over 13 years. Her advice, “Early detection, at the first sign go to the doctor. Don’t do what one of my sisters did; don’t hide it. If you feel like something isn’t right, go to the doctor, ask for prayer and trust in God. Don’t be ashamed and don’t be afraid.” Annie Mae Anderson, my mother’s first cousin, had been cancer free for 13 years and most recently for 1 year 4 months. Her advice is, “Perform your own monthly breast exam, have your physician check you as well, and follow through with the mammogram and any other recommendations. Whatever it takes, take care of yourself.” I tried my best to include all survivors in my family. Sadly, over the years we’ve lost quite a few to breast cancer and other cancers. Finally, I want to encourage everyone to find resources in your area and start with your primary physician or local health department. Georgia’s Online Cancer Resource Center has a wide array of programs and websites listed at www.georgiacancerinfo.org/cancer-resources/cancer-type/breast-cancer/4. I’m wearing something pink every day this month to bring awareness, but also to remind me of my journey and how blessed I am to be alive. Let’s thank God for life. I’m praying for you.


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