And then ... the light came on

Cheryl Brown (left) and her friend, Joan Felts, at last year’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

My name is Cheryl Brown. On Dec. 12, 2007, 12 days before my 52nd birthday, the radiologist called me at work to give me the results of my mammogram.

“I do not have good news,” she said, “the last test confirmed that you have breast cancer. “

I was devastated, but I heard the voice of the Lord say, “But it’s OK.” For about a week, I could not say the words breast cancer without breaking down in tears.

Quickly, I knew I needed HELP and then ... the light came on. It is easy to extend your assistance when someone needs help, to lend an ear, say a prayer or whatever you can do to assist that person. The word of God gave me the courage to do the research necessary to prepare for my journey.

This journey took me through a vocabulary lesson — all the new words that were introduced to me after my diagnosis.

I elected to have a bilateral mastectomy, which was scheduled March 4, 2008, a seven-hour surgery. To my surprise, I was released the next day. I went through six rounds of chemo.

I met a wonderful lady named Joan Felts, a breast cancer survivor. I walked into the chemo lab one day, and Joan paid me a wonderful compliment. She is my hero.

She shared lots of wonderful health recipes and, most importantly, her experience with the different chemo drugs I was administered.

The three chemo drugs were Herceptin, Carboplatin and Taxotere. Joan made me aware that Taxotere was a harsh drug that would destroy my nails on my fingers and toes.

She recommended placing ice on these areas to reduce the chances of that happening.

During my recovery, I decided to organize a team — Pink Crusaders — to walk in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in 2009. My community team registered 180 walkers and won first place. We received a plaque. We could not have done this without the support of the community, family and friends.

This year, we are up and running again. My goal is to do all I can to find a cure for breast cancer by spreading the word about my experience, hopefully to help someone.

We had one man, yes, a man, on our team who was battling breast cancer. He fought a good fight but lost the battle on Feb. 10, 2010. This year, we plan to remember him as well as all the other family members and friends who did not survive. And we will honor the survivors. This year, we have registered 14 survivors; last year we had nine.

I have learned a lot about this disease and my HOPE is to someday find a cure to STOMP OUT BREAST CANCER. I give all glory and honor to God for my journey and my survival.

Cheryl Brown,

North Charleston