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The Inspiring Story of Cynthia Washington #ImASurvivor

The Inspiring Story of Cynthia Washington #ImASurvivor

With October comes many things.  Sweater weather, hayrides and of course the pumpkin spice flavor takes over aisle in the grocery store. However we at Black Girl Health take time to celebrate Breast Cancer Warriors around the country.

We’d like to share the inspiring story of Cynthia Washington…

 

“My name is Cynthia Washington. I am now 64 years old and a two time breast cancer survivor. My first breast cancer diagnosis came in July 2008. It was discovered as a result of a mammogram and advocacy for myself. After the mammogram showed something questionable, the radiology team decided to do a diagnostic mammogram because as Black women, we have dense breasts. However the radiologist felt that the questionable tumors were just calcifications… initially.   But after I stated that mother and two aunts had breast cancer she were they sure it was just calcifications.  The radiologist said we better do a biopsy to be certain. The biopsy revealed that I did have cancer, DCIS, Ductal carcinoma in situ , Stage zero.
After talking with two Breast Surgeons and my Priest (cousin), I decided to elect a lumpectomy and several rounds of radiation as my course of treatment,  as various courses of treatment were presented to me.  As a result of the treatment, I remained cancer free for 3 years past the 5-year, exhale period.   I continued to get annual mammograms and said to myself, this DCIS must have just been a fluke.
Then after 8 years of being cancer free, my 2016 mammogram showed that I had cancer again. The Breast Surgeon ordered a biopsy and scheduled my appointment for a week later.  When I returned for the appointment, I heard those dreaded words…You have Breast Cancer and it’s in the left breast again near the same spot as your first cancer.  Your cancer type is the most aggressive type, Triple Negative or TNBC. Stage 1.  The only option for me was a mastectomy of the left breast.  However, I chose a bi-laterally mastectomy with reconstruction, as I didn’t want to hear the words you have breast cancer again!
By the time  I had completed the various blood and radiation test and the mastectomy was scheduled, my cancer had gone from Stage 1 to Stage 2. However a test of the lymphnodes showed that the cancer had not moved to the lymphnodes.
The mastectomy was performed with implants for reconstruction, but I became infected in both breasts.  I required an additional surgery to remove the infected tissue and I elected to remove the implants and stay flat, at least for now.  I later developed a deep wound as the right drains from the second surgery did not function properly.  The wound care took several weeks and after much prayer and drinking a high protein drink called JUVEN . The wound healed just a few days of the prescribed maximum time to start the chemotherapy treatment. On December 26th, 2016, I began the ACT Chemo treatment with 4 rounds of the AC (Adriamycin and cyclophosphamide) followed by 12 rounds of Taxol.
 However midway through the Taxol treatment my defense levels became so low that I developed shingles.  I had to stop the chemo and treat the shingle virus that attached the left side of my body,  Including my face, neck, shoulders, and back.   After the successful treatment, I continued with the Taxol chemo and completed it on June 29th, 2017.
 
As a result of having breast cancer, I have many scars and side effects from surgeries and chemo, both seen and unseen.  Today,  I still battle with the physical and emotional scars and I still have neuropathy in my fingers and feet.  Although, the neuropathy has improved after going through several treatments (laser, vibration, shock, vitamin B Complex and acupuncture).
I continue on my journey, as I have elected to become single, had a gastro sleeve surgery to lose weight, and enjoy the things that give me pleasure such as aqua volleyball, gardening, and painting. In addition, I have just recently successfully taken the Maryland Real Estate course and passed  the State of Maryland Real Estate Exam.  I have also stepped up my advocacy game for breast cancer by modeling in the annual Runway for the the Cure fashion show fundraiser, participating in many focus group discussion
To learn more about how you can help be a part of our mission to encourage womento know the signs and get tested early click here:

s and surveys  and most recently been the representative  at my church for the breast cancer ministry.”

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Imani Goodall
Imani Goodall
Digital Media Manager

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