Summer's not over yet! With that in mind, we're here to celebrate our latest Survivors for July and August, respectively, Regina Copeland and Yakima Deloatch. And beating breast cancer isn't the only thing these women have in common. Regina and Yakima are also both strong in spirit, fierce, and determined. But we're not surprised!
Representing July, Regina was diagnosed with Stage 2 HER 2+ breast cancer while completing her final semester of study to become an adult geriatric nurse practitioner. If you're thinking Regina must've been on top of her health, being she was studying to be a nurse, you'd be right.
In fact, Regina went for annual screenings and mammograms, and saw her doctors regularly. But none of this is how she received her diagnosis. Regina discovered a lump while performing a self-exam. And though floored by her discovery, she suited up for battle with her favorite armor.
"I was devastated but put on my big girl panties, gathered up my unwavering faith, and prayed," she said.
Next came treatment. In the following months, Regina received chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, and radiation while continuing to work in a critical care unit. Not only did she graduate, but most importantly she survived breast cancer while doing so. This coming October will mark six years as a survivor and nearly four as a practicing and licensed adult geriatric nurse practitioner.
Giving thanks to God, Regina says her motto is, "I can. I will. Watch me." Well, we did, and we're still watching!
Now let's meet Yakima Deloatch representing August. Yakima was no stranger to breast cancer, having lost her mother to the disease when she was only 13. There's not much else that can shake you after something like that. So fast forward a couple decades later to when Yakima received her own diagnosis, and it's no surprise she pulled a positive from the irony.
"I witnessed my mother battle this unforgiving disease with strength and poise despite how sick it made her at times," she said. "Little did I know I was gaining first hand experience for my own battle years later."
In fact, equipped with this experience, Yakima took her diagnosis of Stage 3 Triple Negative breast cancer in stride and headed into things with high spirits.
"I coined my journey the Pink Diamond Stiletto Journey,'' she said.
With a name like that you can imagine how she soon turned each step of that journey into a celebration, including chemo and losing her hair.
Today she stands as a stiletto-wearing survivor and advocate for breast cancer as well as related conditions such as lymphedema, which she experiences in her left upper arm. Lymphedema is most commonly caused by damage to your lymph nodes, or their removal, during cancer treatment. It results from a blockage in your lymphatic system, when lymph fluid can no longer drain properly and builds up causing swelling. Still, as you may have guessed, Yakima finds a way to celebrate this, too, referring to herself as a Lymphediva.
As a writer, guest on well-known talk shows, and a thought leader on her own platform IamYakima.com, this Survivor gets the word out!
"We must continue to share our story and journey," she said.
Luckily for us, Regina and Yakima share their stories with us! We celebrate both of you and thank you!
Until next time, keep up with us on Instagram and keep your Eye on Strength.