Our lives were forever changed when Mommy took her last breath. My siblings and I figured lung cancer and the lasting pain it creates, would never be a fate of ours again, since none of us smoked. The dark cloud that the debilitating disease of cancer settles over its victims and survivors would be gone, so we thought.
In 2015, Deborah was diagnosed with cancer. My siblings and I were all once again, faced with the possibility of a harsh reality. Would we lose our big sister? What did we need to do to help her? There were so many questions left unanswered. One thing for sure, in true Bakergirl fashion, Deborah fought with everything in her.
We didn’t want to lose another loved one to cancer. Deborah wanted to live for her only daughter. Bene’ is her only child, the love of her life, the joy in her heart and the shine in her morning sun. Following her first surgery, shortly thereafter, victory was realized. Deborah won her battle! In the dawning of a new day, none of us were prepared for the war brewing and hidden beyond the horizon within a new decade.
Following celebratory moments and five years later, I was sitting in my living room when Deborah called to inform me she was once again diagnosed with cancer. The floor literally fell from under my feet. This time it was Breast Cancer. It’s 2020, the world is filled with so much grief, division and uncertainty. The entire planet is in the middle of a pandemic. Yet again, the dark cloud continues expanding because there is no cure for Breast Cancer.
This time around, Deborah was specific and clear about her desires. She refused to have her breast removed and decided if the treatment did not work, she would let God take her. She was tired. Deborah’s emotional wave was a culmination of peacefulness and unrest, due to the affliction she soldiered through daily. In big sister fashion, her affairs were in order. We prayed for a favorable outcome. After several bouts of radiation treatment, burnt skin, breast augmentation, hair coming out in patches, emotional scars, nausea, loss of appetite, pain in her body and more, she was cleared. On the day of her very last treatment and cancer fighting regimen, Deborah danced her way down the hall and rang the warrior bell.
Victory is sweet! Deborah is still here. Together, my siblings and I give God all the glory. Yet there is an aspect of her journey that was quietly experienced. My siblings and I were all Co-Survivors. Not once, not twice, but each time a family member was taken due to this vicious disease.
Deborah is my first best friend. I have known her for just as long as I have realized my own existence. I still have memories of just the two of us. As my other siblings, Leon Jr. and Marion, she has been a life-time companion. We felt her pain and only God knows how that impacted me.
What I did not expect is that a childhood friend would also be facing a similar battle. Through his books and our talks, he helped me to understand the quiet yet tumultuous storms that Co-survivors face. That was the first time I ever heard that terminology. With everything going on, I did not realize that so many others could understand the magnitude and the weight that came with loving someone diagnosed with cancer. I am forever grateful that Sy, Bryant, exposed me to that side of my pain and purpose in life. In light of this, I have made a commitment to do what I can.
Co-survivors are also champions looking for support and a cure. This disease is wreaking havoc on innumerable lives. As a result of my experience, I have commited to shining a spotlight monthly on the stories of Co-survivors and Survivors fighting daily to preserve life from my platform. We need a cure and that begins with sharing the countless stories that go unheard and untold. Together, we can find a cure.
“The Inspiration Incubator” A PODcast, is here to inspire! If you or a loved one would like to share your story, contact us today at Plans of Action Houston. email: firstname.lastname@example.org