Three breast cancer survivors spoke about their diagnosis, treatment and aftercare during the Breast Cancer Awareness Round Up recently at Mulberry Grove Baptist Church at Altheimer.
The event was sponsored by the Mission Ministry of the church with Brenda Barnes, president, and Stacy Bohannon, chairwoman.
The purpose was to bring awareness to both women and men about the importance of breast care and awareness of breast cancer, according to a news release.
Survivors discussed intimate details of their journeys, according to the news release from Bohannon.
Ann Reynolds-Compton shared how she was devastated and became very emotional once she received the news of her diagnosis. After the surgery, no chemo or radiation was required, but she was prescribed chemo medication for five years. Side of effects from the chemo pills include excessive swelling, cramps in her hands and feet, neuropathy, carpal tunnel, migraine headaches and numbness in her hands, according to the release.
Reynolds-Compton said in spite of the diagnosis and all she has gone through, she is thankful to God she is still here.
Joyce Murry, first lady at Gospel Temple Missionary Baptist Church, shared that once she received her diagnosis, she “did not cry.”
“She was more concerned about her family, especially her son, Trey, who was away in Fayetteville, AR, and daughter, Jalyn, who was pregnant at the time with Joyce’s first grandbaby,” according to the release.
She was not surprised at the diagnosis because during her biopsy, God had prepared her for the truth which was to come, she said. Murry received a phone the next day from her doctor with the results — cancer. During her next visit to her doctor, the plan was discussed and the journey began.
Murry endured several rounds of chemo before her surgery. She stated that the chemo turned her hands and feet black. She could not get her manicures or pedicures. She also lost her long, beautiful hair, according to the release.
Murry returns every 3 to 6 months for PET/CT scans. But, she is not on chemo pills, no more chemo and no radiation. She is cancer free and enjoying her life, friends and family, especially her grandson, Jaistyn.
Felicia Roberts Shelton was recently diagnosed with ductal carcinoma. She too underwent surgery. Shelton shared with the attendees how her yearly mammogram in January 2018 was normal. However, due to a busy schedule, she did not go in January 2019 but July instead, which is when she received an abnormal report.
She stated after she and her husband, George, received the news, the hardest task was telling her only child, Kylia, and her parents. Shelton explained how emotional this battle can be.
“Some days you feel OK and then there are days you don’t,” she said. “The support of family and friends is very important. A lot of times, just having someone there to sit quietly is all that’s needed.”
She shared how she woke up after surgery singing, “Love lifted me, when nothing else could help, Love lifted me.”
Shelton is grateful to God for still being here. Shelton says no chemo, no chemo pills and no radiation was needed.
Also during the presentations at Mulberry Grove, Donna Williams Huskey, RN, explained the importance of monthly self breast checks and yearly mammograms. She demonstrated how to properly do self checks. She stated that diet and exercise are essential. She provided names and contact information of agencies that will assist financially with mammograms and some even free programs, according to the news release.
Melrita Johnson, a licensed social worker, stated that getting counseling is OK and she encouraged participants to seek counseling if they feel the need to talk to someone. She stated it’s not a bad thing to seek counseling.
Johnson provides several services and brought along four of her interns who shared with the group the programs offered.
Also during the event, photos were taken by Kanesha Barnes-Adams and her husband, owners of Kolorful Kreations.
Refreshments were prepared by the mission ministry and arranged and displayed by Velma Barnes. Treats included turkey, pimento cheese sandwiches, chicken salad on croissants, fresh fruit, sweet cherry tomatoes, assorted chips, cherry flavored popcorn, pink lemonade and cake.
The event was free and open to the public.
“We were thankful to all that attended,” a spokeswoman said. “We were thankful to have Mrs. Earnestine Marshall, city wide mission president, along with other mission presidents and members from several different churches locally and from the surrounding areas.”
Altheimer Mayor Zola Hudson and Irene Holcomb, former Pine Bluff City Council member, were also in attendance at the Oct. 22 event.