Finding Peace in Stormy Seas


While the country continues to grapple and cope with COVID-19, the murder of George Floyd, protests, riots, and looting, emotions and anxieties are running at an all-time high for pretty much everyone.

But it's during the toughest of times we look toward those who truly inspire us and we gain a bit more strength and a bit more hope.

For us right now that's Barbara Barnes, our June Survivor. Thank you Barbara for giving us something to celebrate and a glimmer of hope!

Barbara's journey began five years ago when she was asked to have her mammogram repeated due to a small mass found in her right breast. Strangely, her second mammogram showed something in her left breast.

With conflicting results, Barbara was sent to the hospital for additional testing which included yet another mammogram, a breast MRI, ultrasounds, and needle biopsies. Ultimately, it was confirmed that the mass in her right breast was malignant. Still, with so many contradicting findings and series of screenings, Barbara's anxiety peaked.

"Did the clinicians know what they were doing?" she recalled thinking.

Fortunately, Barbara was soon referred to Dr. Janet McDermott, a breast cancer specialist and surgeon who provided some much needed clarity and comfort.

"Dr. McDermott was a godsend. She put me at ease and was reassuring of things to come," she said. "I began to finally think that everything would be alright."

Barbara soon took faith in the Bible-inspired saying, "if God brings you to it, he will bring you through it," and she felt more in control of her journey. She was eager and relieved to have the mass removed through a lumpectomy, and continued treatment with 30 days of radiation directly following.

"Rely on your faith for strength," she said. "There is a reason for everything, even if we may not know what it is."

Today, Barbara remains cancer-free and stronger. She admits at first she didn't want to share her story or talk about what she was going through with anyone. At the encouragement of her friend, she opened up a bit and soon found comfort in sharing her journey with others.

"I was surprised to learn how many others were out there who could relate to what I was experiencing," she said.

Now here she is sharing her story with us as our June Survivor, and inspiring so many!

When she's not busy inspiring us, Barbara enjoys the peaceful environment of South Mountain Reservation, one of her favorite spots, which consists of an astounding 2,112 acres of nature and trails in the central section of Essex County in New Jersey.

"It's a good place to unwind and relax," she said. Uh, it sounds like it! We might meet you there.

In the meantime, let's wish Kathy Roe (January Survivor) and Dorothy Sanford (September Survivor) a very happy birthday as they celebrate this month and more warm wishes to all the dads in our network as we approach Father's Day.

Until next time, keep up with us on Instagram, keep being inspired even through these tumultuous times, and always keep your Eye on Strength!

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Eye of the Survivor® 2020

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