Recently, Daystar had the opportunity to partner financially with a young woman going through a desperate situation and trying time in her life. Partners, it’s because of you that we are able to give and support those in need all around the world – thank you! Please keep this young woman and her family in your prayers.
“I was a 25 years old woman 5 months pregnant with my daughter, when I was diagnosed on November 17, 2014. My first surgery took place on November 26, 2014, the day before Thanksgiving. I was paralyzed with fear to have my lumpectomy done while being pregnant, for my unborn child as well as myself. However I was fortunate enough to be far enough along in my pregnancy that I had options as far as continuing pregnancy and was not instructed to abort my daughter – unfortunately many women are not given that option. As I was being wheeled into the operation room out of the sight of my loved ones, I was informed that if anything was to happen to my daughter during the procedure that they would not try to save her, I would be their priority and would be advised of the outcome once I was in recovery. I was overwhelmed and cried uncontrollably at the thought of losing my daughter. A baby I had prayed for, an innocent new life and now it could all be lost because my body was failing to protect her. I would not have been able to forgive myself had she not survived my operation and chemotherapy treatments.
As fate would have it, many things did not go as planned. Although I was blessed to have an amazing team of physicians working with me, my initial surgery was 2 hours longer than expected and 1 of my 14 lymph nodes tested positive, so I had to have them removed from under my left arm. Returning home on Thanksgiving afternoon was extremely difficult, my young son unaware of surgery just wanted his mom to greet him with a simple hug and kiss, but unfortunately I was unable to comfort my son. He was crying for me to pick him up but I could not lift him, no matter how loud he cried, not because I did not want to, but because I was barely strong enough to walk from the door of my apartment to my bed. I felt like I had failed him, like I had failed my husband, like I had failed myself. Those feelings only amplified when my mediport became infected after surgery and I had to have another surgery while pregnant. This was the first of many complications and additional surgeries with and without anesthesia.
My second surgery on December 10, 2014 was to remove the mediport from my right chest wall. I refused to undergo anesthesia again out of concern for my daughter’s well-being, so I was awake for this 1 ½ hour long surgery with local anesthesia. I remember feeling the port being removed when the surgeon pulled it out of my artery and I could feel my blood pressure dropping. I asked her to help me because I felt myself passing out. Waiting for the operation I felt the fear and shame rest heavy on my chest; I thought my children deserve better than this, they deserve a stronger, healthy mother.
When first diagnosed, my first concern was for my children; I do not want them to grow up without their mother. I was so afraid because I was unacquainted with breast cancer. To be fully honest I did not think a woman my age could get breast cancer. I always thought that it affected mostly middle aged Caucasian women. When my doctors explained to me that the type of breast cancer I had was very rare and aggressive, they informed me that when breast cancer occurs in younger African American women it tends to be more aggressive and has the tendency to hide until it is in an advance stage. That lowers the survival rates of this specific group. I was diagnosed with triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma.
By the time of my lumpectomy I was told that I had stage 2 triple negative invasive ductal carcinoma, which means that the type of cancer I had would not respond to certain types of treatment because it was not sensitive to hormones. That restricted my treatment options greatly. On January 2, 2015 I had my picc line placed in my right arm. I was started on ACT regimen while pregnant with my daughter. I started my chemotherapy in January, every week for 8 weeks I was in the oncologist office. Once every 2 weeks for blood work and the neulasta shot, alternating with a 4-5 hour chemotherapy treatment on Thursday’s followed by more blood work and a neulasta shot that Friday. After my chemotherapy treatments my husband would have to take care of me like a baby, he had to walk with me to the bathroom, he had to help me stand up, help me wash. My son would cry because he wanted me to play with him and I could not. I was not able to work; I was barely able to take care of myself. I felt helpless and hopeless.
After my second chemo treatment my body went into labor. I was too weak to move and my entire body ached. With each contraction I felt as if it would be my last. After being in the hospital for 8 hours, my body stopped labor, and I was told I could go home but I had to take it extremely easy. My body felt beaten up, worse than anything I had ever felt before, and all I could take was Tylenol because of my pregnancy.
After my 4th chemo treatment I had to have an emergency C-section after trying to induce my labor because my daughter’s heat rate dropped with each contraction; I had a healthy 6 lbs. baby girl. I completed treatment on May 18th 2015. I lost all of my body hair, my son knew that it made me feel bad so he would kiss me each morning and tell me “Mommy you’re so beautiful I love you.” My son had to come to each doctor’s appointment with my husband and myself because we had no baby sitter expect for on chemo days. I felt horrible that he had to witness so much at such a young age. He started to ask my doctor’s to “please fix my mommy, I want her to get better, I want my mommy back.”
I shut the world out. Everyone who was outside of my apartment stayed out. After finishing chemo I felt like I was alone, just me, my husband and our children. I felt as if no one could understand how I was feeling. The hopelessness, the fear, the guilt and the anger. This is just a glimpse of some of what a cancer survivor has to endure. The amount of pain that is felt cannot be described, it is simply horrible to say the very least. This is coming from a woman who had a great support system. My husband was with me through it all, at every appointment, at every chemotherapy treatment but 1, and I still felt isolated.”
During Briana’s darkest times, Daystar was able to help shine a light and show support by giving financially to help cover the cost of medical expenses. Here is what Briana had to say:
“Thank you Marcus, Joni and the partners of Daystar for helping me with $1,000 toward my surgery. It means so much to me and my family that you took the time to offer your support and prayers for us. These past 11 months have definitely tested all of our faith, but at our lowest points we could always turn to Daystar to give us just the words of encouragement we needed to keep pushing through. Words cannot express how much of a blessing you have been to my entire family during this challenging period of time. When our own family members left us to figure it out on our own, some out of fear, others just unsure of what to say, we could call and ask for prayer, and have a live person pray with us in the middle of the night. I thank God for you and for placing you and your network into my life. May God continue to bless your ministry and friends and family.”
With so much love,