Welcome everyone to August! (Or is it still March?) We can all agree this year has been a tough one - and a long one - and we're still in the thick of it.
BUT thankfully, we have an amazing network here at Eye of the Survivor, where we can find support and help keep things in perspective. We also get to gush each month as we share our latest Survivor's story. Like what's about to happen right now.
Meet Leslia Pilgrim-Howard, our August Survivor, pictured above looking as fabulous on the outside as she is on the inside. And Leslia, like all of our Survivors, has had no easy time of it.
Leslia's journey began back in December 2017 when she started feeling sharp pain in her right breast.
"The pain would come, and it was so forceful, that it would stop me dead in my tracks," she recalled.
Still, she chalked it off to stress, being her mother was recovering from major surgery and it was a busy and worrisome time.
When the pain was still there two months later though, she decided to see her doctor, who sent her for a mammogram.
Unfortunately, her screening was not scheduled until June and this was only February.
Let's pause to share that while wait times can be long for appointments, it's always worth checking around to see if other facilities have openings and also letting your doctor know so he or she can help to find another option that may be sooner - especially if you're experiencing pain (or any other active symptom).
For Leslia, she waited the near four months (and six since her initial pain) to have her mammogram which was followed by an ultrasound.
Next was a biopsy which ultimately led to her breast cancer diagnosis.
After receiving the devastating news, she called her sisters together, then prepared to call her mother.
"I did not want to tell her as I knew she was going through her own issues, but I had to," she said.
To her surprise, her mom took the news with astounding confidence.
"Her response was priceless she said, 'Lis, you're going to be fine, God got this."
And though that wound up being true, even after three lumpectomies her cancer was still present leading her to undergo a bilateral mastectomy by July.
"It was the most faith-testing experience I've ever faced," she recalled. "But I put on my brave face and looked forward to the new me."
Once Leslia got back to enjoying her cancer-free life, she couldn't wait to detox - and we're not talking about a 3-day cleanse you drink or even a day at the spa.
Leslia's style of detox means pitching a tent in the woods with her family and friends.
"Mainly because camping gives me the opportunity to detox from day to day life," she said. "No electronics, no TV, just the great outdoors, games, and fun activities."
What a down-to-Earth spirit, quite literally! And, like ALL of our Survivors, Leslia is pretty darn fierce.
"Life will certainly try and test you, but God always has the final say," she said. "I'm ready to live life to the fullest, look out world here I come."
Yes!!! And we are so happy to be part of your journey!
Until next time, keep up with us on Instagram, and always keep your Eye on Strength!