Breast Cancer Arsenal: Family & Faith
This year marks our SIXTH calendar edition here at Eye of the Survivor, and while that is something to celebrate in itself, it's even more of a celebration that there are that many survivors to feature in our calendars! Two of these survivors are Tracy Thompson (pictured right above) and Debra Small (pictured left above), representing May and June this year respectively.
No one is ever really prepared for cancer, and sometimes the thought doesn't even cross our minds. Like Tracy.
"Never in a million years did I think I would have cancer," she said.
Looking back on the day of her diagnosis, she recalls being taken aback, and also wanting to deal with the news privately.
"It was something I wanted to keep to myself because I didn't want people feeling sympathy for me as the tough person that I am," she said.
But tough as she was and still is, Tracy realized it only made her tougher to develop a strong support system to aid her along her journey.
"I have my family, friends, and coworkers who stood by me and guided me not only with the clinical aspect but also emotionally and spiritually," she said.
And following doctors' orders is something else she deems important.
"To be diagnosed and treated and survive, is a combination of spiritual and clinical management," she said. "I could not have done this myself if I was not compliant with the treatment." Still, one might outweigh the other just a little bit in her book as she added, "Above all else, my faith and the support of the people around me in my life."
This is something Debra certainly agrees with. "My family and friends near and far will never know how much I appreciate all the prayers, the love, phone calls, text messages, and cards that got me through this dark time," she said.
And while Debra was surprised by her diagnosis, too, she was quicker to share the news with loved ones, telling her daughter and husband within moments. While she held off telling her son so he could focus on his football season, she admits it was actually hardest sharing the news with her mother as just six months prior they lost Debra's brother to pancreatic cancer.
And sadly, whether from the emotional strain or an untimely coincidence, Debra's mom fell ill just as Debra was preparing to begin radiation. But while this could have broken Debra, it actually fueled her determination.
"My mom got really sick around the same time I had to have my treatments so I knew I had to fight for her and myself," she said.
And Debra's children were additional motivators!
"Right before going into my treatments I needed to hear my children's voices so I would call them just to hear them say 'you got this' and 'it will be alright.'"
We are so glad Debra's kids were right, and she joins Tracy and our other members in survival. We couldn't be happier!
Thank you for sharing your stories with us, and helping us continue to bring inspiration, information, and hope to others along their journeys. Six calendars strong and a fierce pack of Survivors to back us up!
Until the next time, keep up with us on Instagram, and always keep your Eye On Strength!