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Pushing Past Fear

As 2020 continues to sucker punch many of us, our September Survivor reminds us that better days are always within reach. Even when we are slow to take action or extend our hand out for help.

Dorothy Sanford learned a tough lesson in avoidance and procrastination. Back in 1994, yes the 90s, a coworker had a mammogram and passed away two months later. The combination of that timing stirred such a fear within Dorothy that she decided to avoid having a mammogram at all costs for as long as she could. Even as the years progressed and she felt a small knot in between her breasts she still wouldn't get a mammogram and brushed it off.

As time went on the knot grew in size and discomfort. By 2005, well more than a handful of years after the start of the lump, her doctor pushed hard for Dorothy to get the lump biopsied but still Dorothy refused.

The next year he pushed harder, and ultimately (and thankfully) she caved, and wouldn't have to go it alone either.

"He said, 'Dorothy you need to get this done now. It's been almost 12 years and it's still there. You need this done now," she recalled. "I said, 'No,' [but] then at that very moment, I agreed. I told him if I am going to do this, you come with me and hold my hand. Surprisingly, he agreed."

Dorothy was pushing past fear - with backup. Within weeks, Dorothy had her biopsy done, and true to his word, Dr. Abdullah Muhammad held her hand during the entire procedure.

"It was very painful, but I knew I was in good hands," she recalled.

Within days Dorothy received her results which was a malignant tumor, in Stage 3 breast cancer.

"I was quiet and couldn't say a word. I looked up to God and said why me. I just cried and ran downstairs to tell my mother and daughters," she said. "It was a very sad day in my home."

The following month, Dorothy had a partial lumpectomy with lymph node removal. Next came chemotherapy, followed by radiation.

"It was a very rough year for me in 2006," she remembered. "However, with the help, love, and support of God and my family, along with my coworkers, I never would have made it."

Dorothy had another take away, too.

"One thing for sure, I wish I would have listened the first time. I could have avoided all of this," she said. "The first time you see something or feel something, get it checked out. Don't wait as I did."

Now, on the other side of her diagnosis and treatment, and in a totally new decade, Dorothy is currently a 10-year breast cancer survivor.

Dorothy, thank you for sharing your story and we know it will inspire and give others courage to also get screenings and testing when anything is suspected (or even when it's not).

As we kick off the month, let's share warmest birthday wishes with our September babies Carolita Lewis (March Survivor), Jenny Marsh (July Survivor), Leslia Pilgrim-Howard (August Survivor), and Tangelia Booker (October Survivor).

As Dorothy says, "Live your best life every day, count your blessings, and stay healthy."

Until next time, keep up with us on Insta and keep your Eye on Strength!

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