Mills gave breast cancer only one chance at testing her

Ernestine "Tina" Mills

Coming close to her 8 year anniversary, breast cancer survivor Ernestine “Tina” Mills recalls being diagnosed on her oldest daughter’s birthday.

“Cancer runs in my family. My mom died of ovarian cancer and my father died of prostate cancer and I had another sister that died-I had two sisters that died of lung cancer and one that died of bone cancer,” Tina said.

Tina mentioned that because she always does her own self- examination the news didn’t catch her too much off guard. “I’m a very Christian person so of course my first thing was to get on my knees and give it to God.” Tina’s doctor suggested that they remove the tumor but to refrain from them having to see her for the second time she requested her breast to be removed. “I only give them one chance. If you’re going to do surgery on me you’re only going to get one chance so you better do it all at once,” she says jokingly.

Tina’s story is different. As a breast cancer survivor she has never taken chemotherapy or radiation.

Would you say your relationship with God grew stronger from that experience?

“My relationship with God has gotten so strong because not only did he delivered me from that but at the time Ciara (her daughter) having the relationship she had with God and speaking to Him and He was speaking to me through her, it just gave me just that much more positivity that you can’t tell me, you can’t make me doubt God because I know too much about Him. He’s done too much for me. And I thank him every day for that. Some people would say, well you still should’ve did this, you still should’ve did that-if my God says I don’t need it, I don’t need it. I’m not gone go against his word. I’m a very Christian person, I’m always in church I’m always doing something but I haven’t always walked with God. So that’s why, like why did I waste all these years not walking with God? Who wouldn’t want to serve a God who could do something like that?”

Tina didn’t have both breasts removed and has a scar on the side she had surgery on. Every year she schedules a mammogram and the breast cancer has not returned.

“This month is breast cancer month, I support whoever I can, however I can, and it’s just an encouraging word. I have a niece that’s about 35 and she was diagnosed with breast cancer probably about 4 or 5 years ago and she was very upset and everything and I told her you know- everybody wants to know well how did you make it through? Me having a relationship with God kept me through it and she didn’t take the whole breast out so she ended up having to have chemo and radiation. Her hair came out and all that stuff. Everybody was like well aunty it didn’t happen to you-it’s your relationship with God because God can do anything but fail. So I know that He keeps me going.”

Tina’s drive came from wanting to see her daughter get married which was scheduled a year after Tina was diagnosed.

When you were diagnosed did you tell your daughter the news on her birthday?

“Yes I did because every time I go to the doctor if they’re not there with me I get 50 phone calls. So when she called me, she said mom what did the doctor say? I said well he says I have breast cancer and I just kept on talking and she just burst out crying.”

Tina kept her faith strong and comforted her daughters, telling them that the God that she serves has a cure.

What led you to go to the doctor before finding out that you were diagnosed?

“I felt a knot, but I kept saying, you know it didn’t feel like a knot. It felt like a bump or a pimple. But the only thing was you couldn’t see it, but you could feel it.”

Tina’s bumps were very small-like pimples and the doctor had to test it for cancer. Very patient for her doctor to have an opening, Tina waited for surgery until her doctor was available.

As a survivor, what do you think has changed after being diagnosed?

“I’ve gotten closer in my walk with God. God and I are, I guess you can say like on a first name basis. And as far as me growing as a person, I think me going through what I went through, I think me going through that it made me more sympathetic to people and closer to people. I get along better with them.”

Tina mentions that while in the hospital she was given a book by a nurse that was written by one of the employee’s and titled “A Mother’s Daughter.” The book helped her have the passion to be a mother to everybody. “My kids are always saying mom you can’t be a mom to everybody but I just feel that motherly love with everybody,” she said.

Tina said that living for her family is what helps her stay strong.

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Breast Cancer survivor Delores Clemons didn’t miss a day of work after being diagnosed

Breast Cancer Survivor, Delores Clemons
Breast Cancer Survivor, Delores Clemons

Diagnosed at the age of 43 in May 2001, breast cancer survivor Delores Clemons wore her experience as an armor fighting in the battle field flawlessly. Many wouldn’t have guessed her story and few were told. Her advice she gives to women is to always give yourself a breast examination.

 

In your 1 year testimony you stated you were taking a shower before bed when you felt a small lump on the upper right side of your chest, what were your thoughts after feeling the lump and did you immediately think that it was breast cancer?

“No, I didn’t. Breast cancer was far from my mind. I didn’t even think nothing like that. It was like I haven’t even heard of breast cancer. It was far from my mind. I thought that it could’ve been like a cyst, you know just a hard cyst or something like that. Never thought it was cancer. Cancer didn’t even enter my mind.”

So what made you want to call the doctor?

“See I had already had knowledge about you have to take your mammogram and if you feel a hard cyst go ahead and get it checked out cause it could be something serious, it could be cancer but I’m just saying I didn’t even think it could be me. Cancer wasn’t even in my, you know, because I was young so I just thought cancer was just for old people. So by me being young it never entered my mind that it could’ve been cancer. But it entered my mind that I needed to get it checked out because it could’ve been like a cyst.”

Mrs. Clemons stated that the unusual thing about her lump is the fact that it was sticking out and could have been overlooked if it was smaller. Delores also had her husband, Willie Clemons, test the lump who also agreed that it was best to see a doctor. Her doctor sent Mrs. Clemons to a specialist, Dr. Phillips, who gave her a biopsy. Still unaware that she could be diagnosed with breast cancer, Mrs. Clemons received a phone call from the doctor two weeks later. Mrs. Clemons and her husband met with Dr. Phillips who informed her that she had been diagnosed. In shock by what the doctor told her Delores was in disbelief.

Dr. Phillips informed Mrs. Clemons that her breast may have to get removed, however, Mrs. Clemons wanted to save it if possible. In her favor the cancer did not spread and she was able to save her breast. Dr. Phillips gave her 3 doses of chemotherapy every 3 weeks and radiation for 46 days.

“I went home and got on my knees and I just prayed. I just talked to God and just asked him to let me live because I heard so much awful things about cancer and I was like why me..why me?” said Delores. Because of her healthy lifestyle, Delores couldn’t understand why she was the one diagnosed with breast cancer. Her prayer was to be able to stay alive to take care of her family who depended on her and work.

“My hair was already long and thick. I woke up and started brushing my hair, combing my hair, and it felt so spongy it was just so weird. My hair was combing out in the comb.” She then purchased a wig because she didn’t want to tell anybody. Not even her mother and select friends. With her hair coming out she still felt fine and healthy. “I was just waiting for something to happen you know. Everybody was always saying that you lose weight, you get sick, you get tired, and you know you be dragging. The only thing that came out that kind of just devastated me because I liked my long hair. And that was pretty much the hardest thing. It may seem shallow but that was the hardest thing to see my hair leave because it made me look totally different.”

When you started wearing your wig do you think anybody noticed?

 

“They thought it was a fashion statement because people at work wore wigs so they thought maybe I was into the fashion statement. They didn’t even think nothing of that because I still looked healthy.”

Mrs. Clemons even attended her 25th High School class reunion while she was going through her chemo treatment and her classmates could not believe the news when she told them. They were shocked by how healthy she looked. However, while she may have not looked like she had been diagnosed with breast cancer she kept the information from people that were close to her for quite some time-including her mother and son Travis Clemons. Delores also told her grandmother and discovered that she too was diagnosed with breast cancer. After years of being a survivor Delores’ grandmother started complaining about her arm and went to the doctor. She started having the pain after getting a shot in the arm on the side she had surgery. She was told that her cancer had spread and passed away on January 6, 2005.

“Every year you know I celebrate. Thank you Lord for allowing me to see another year, because the truth be told, my doctor said Delores you still have to get your mammogram every year.” Said Delores.

How did you feel the year after you were diagnosed? Knowing that you were still healthy.

“I felt good. I started exercising more. I changed my diet, I changed my exercising. I started going to the gym, I mean faithful.”

How has your relationship with God changed?

 

“I was going to church but I wasn’t going to church regularly and it changed you know me by getting involved. I said you know God you’ve been good to me, I got to get in church and start showing my talent. I started tithing more. I started getting involved in the church. I started letting that be my first priority. I started praying like-because I use to love to go out dancing and going to club. I started asking, Lord take this desire to club all the time…… All of that changed my faith because I saw how God was so good to me…..and that’s the reason now I make it my business to go to church.”

Mrs. Clemons supports breast cancer awareness month by attending walks and other workshops and events in the community. She firmly believes that what God has for her is for her and enjoys sharing her testimony so that others can keep their faith and believe that God will bring them through.

Too Young to Live or Die?

Why is that when you’re in your twenties people always claim that you’re “too young”? Seriously? Too young to live or die? Which one, because the last time I checked another day isn’t promised. Your time could be almost up but you held out on everything that you desired because you were told you’re “too young”.

Too young to know love, too young to live on your own, too young to manage your financials, too young to drive your passion, too young to start your business and the list goes on. It’s like when we’re in our twenties we’re placed on a pause and told to wait until the road is clear. When you feel like your life is on a long yield make your own road. Never wait on your desires, create them.

Now I agree to a certain extent. It’s hard out here. It seems like my friends left and right are struggling for whatever reason but it’s life. My God never told us it would be easy. This life wasn’t made for us to live perfect lives; He will have that ready for us when He returns. But for some reason I just can’t wrap my mind around the thought of waiting. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? If you have a desire or passion for something start praying over it, start doing your research, start asking God to connect you to people who can help you implement your plan. Just don’t let time pass you by. Think about it, so much can happen in a year and what you said you would do 2 years ago will just be what you said and not what you did if you don’t wake up and start putting your money where your mouth is.

Now let me take a breather. I’m not saying don’t be patient, all I’m saying is DON’T BE STILL. If you have a vision you should be feeding that vision daily. Don’t waste your own time. Don’t wake up one day noticing that you haven’t gone further than the notes you wrote down about your vision. We all have a purpose and today someone sent me something that stated most people won’t dedicate themselves to their purpose in life. I have this crazy idea that our purpose in life should somewhat be our job. You may not get paid for it but guarantee you should be working for it harder than you work for someone else’s dreams. I hope you don’t turn out to be that person that lived so many years but did not dedicate themselves to their purpose.

Encouragement for forgiving yourself from mistakes

Just breathe. Sometimes I feel that we as people beat ourselves up for silly mistakes we’ve made in the past. I get it. Trust me I know. The thoughts of the decision you made really crowds your mind and you start to think less of yourself. When are we going to let it go? When will we learn to control how we view ourselves at our lowest points?

The mistake you made does not define who you are if you choose to learn your lesson and promise yourself to never turn to that decision again, but you have to actually practice this promise. Quite frankly, you should be thanking yourself for that experience and that minor setback. It will help you grow into a better you.

I once made a big mistake. Several actually! But one particular mistake I made in the past could have hurt the ones I loved. I really downgraded myself for the decision I made and you know what, I was very afraid of what others would think of me. I put myself down and thought negative things about me. Do you know that this is actaully bad for your spirit? The mind is very powerful and it is important that you control your thoughts because you are what you think of yourself. Because of that simple mistake I made I was able to be firm with the type of person I wanted to be and promised to never be faced with the same mistake.

It takes time getting over something that you’re disappointed with yourself about. But remember that what you did does not make who you are. If anything it gives you the opportunity to explore personal growth. While forgiving yourself be optimistic and nurture your mind with positive thoughts.

Disappointing others to develop your right mind

Have you ever feared of disappointing someone when you’re trying to do what’s best for you. Well stop. You can never elevate yourself thinking about how others will feel about you. Don’t get me wrong though, you shouldn’t intentionally let people down. You shouldn’t let others down by down-grading who you are. I am speaking on what people expect of you and what people think you owe them. In this life you are going to constantly let others down because people will have such high expectations of you. People will depend on you. However, when it’s time to live for you and put yourself first don’t think about disappointing someone else.

I’m the type of person that likes to get myself involved in so many things and then complain when I don’t get time to myself or time to relax. I feel it’s important to share my helping hand. That’s great and everything but we have to learn how to say no and set our boundaries of how far we stretch ourselves. If you’re giving so much of you out then what’s left for only you? What’s left when it’s time to perfect your craft? Nothing because you have given your all to other areas you have committed yourself to.

I want you to write out everything you give your time to. Try to number it with #1 being what you give the most of your time to. Let’s see how many numbers it takes before you get to yourself. Here’s another thing; when we give ourselves to so many other areas we lose site of who we are. We start molding ourselves to be numb and to be unaware of our feelings, what we enjoy doing, our dislikes and what makes us happy. And if you’ve done it for so long you’ll realize that now you’re lost.

We have to find who we are. We weren’t created in this world to work, eat, sleep and die. We were created to use our gifts to the max and to really shower everyone with who we are and what we can contribute to this place we’re living in. But if you’re constantly dividing yourself into so many areas you won’t have anything left of your gift that you can use to your advantage.

Know who you are. Don’t get stuck living in someone else’s dream because you don’t know your own.

My GPS failed me so take a route using your spirit

So you know how they say God will give you just what you asked Him for? Well believe it please! A few weeks ago I asked God to teach me patience, love and peace through this season he’s taking me and Tuesday he hit me good with a little lesson of patience.

I just moved back home from Albany so I’m trying to learn these Atlanta roads-when I left for school I didn’t have a car of my own so I didn’t do too much driving outside Gwinnett-and I ALWAYS use my GPS to navigate me when i’m traveling. To be honest without my GPS I feel lost. I don’t know where i’m going nor the names of streets and highways. So Tuesday I was leaving an interview from Atlanta and trying to head to Fairburn. For some reason when I put in the address my GPS kept trying to give me directions as if I was coming from Albany. I’m like what in the world, what is going on? I’m trying to get to another location and i’m about to basically get lost. I didn’t know which highway to take let alone how to even get on the highway! I found myself just getting on any highway trying to trust my instinct and memory. As I kept failing at knowing where I was and feeling lost I started to get irritated and emotional, I was about to break down in that car driving on that highway with cars flying past me. It took me realizing that I need to stay calm and not let my emotions get the best of me (which I blogged about a month ago. You can read it here: https://dejanethompson.wordpress.com/2015/07/03/sometimes-life-will-knock-you-down-but-you-defeat-it-by-taking-control-of-it-emotionally/). When I held my emotions together I told God I trusted him and I knew he wasn’t going to get me lost headed to Macon or Augusta lol. So I called my boyfriend to see if he was able to assist me with directions. He didn’t quite know where I was coming from but he was very helpful. I was able to get on track and be lead in the right direction. How amazing is that. Here I am, this young woman in Atlanta, not very familiar with streets, was depending on technology to get me places, it failed on me so I started to freak out as if I was going to be lost. But I found my way thank God!

Do you notice how much this experience connects to our everyday life being guided by God? For one, we depend on things, others and in my case, technology to guide us instead of listening to God’s direction. Those things fail us easily but He will never let us down. Secondly, I was about to give up and have an attitude with myself because I was lost. You will get lost sometimes when God is guiding you. We are humans, we make mistakes and we aren’t perfect. So you can’t beat yourself up and get all emotional. Keep your spirit high and have faith that everything is going to work out. Don’t sweat that small stuff. Third, call on a friend when you need help! I said Travis (my boyfriend) didn’t have a clue where I was coming from but God had him help me. God is going to send people your way so that you can stay on track and get to your destination. They may not know where you came from but they will get you where you need to be, trust and believe it. Finally, the next day I was more comfortable traveling. My GPS failed me again but I took the steps I learned from God’s teaching and was able to maneuver my little self around. I trusted God. I wasn’t scared because I knew I was going to make it with a breeze.

Take my experience with you and remember it because I promise you that you will run into something similar. Just remember to stay calm, call a friend and most importantly trust his lesson.

He’s our provider

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Quick blog!!!! I was scrolling through IG (I really should be putting my running shoes on) and I came across a post that basically stated “my life isn’t perfect but I appreciate what God has blessed me with.” After reading that I remembered how I would complain about my raggedy phone that kept falling apart because the screen was cracked all over (the glass is like falling off seriously lol) and the back piece doesn’t attach. After awhile I just began thankful that I had a phone honestly. About a month ago the battery swelled and my mom gave me an extended batter-which is bigger than a regular battery and this is why the back piece would fall off a lot.

I just know that it would be a while before I get a new phone and this is just simply out of my control. Thankfully my mom gave me a case that fits the phone and my huge battery so the back piece doesn’t fall off. I’m just so excited!  Like really, this eliminates a lot of struggles while using my phone and the battery falling out! It reminded me of my study a couple of days ago on how God gives us what we need and to not worry about all those things. He is our provider. He knows when we need something and He will provide just that (Matthew 6:32 “Do not worry about food, drinks, and clothes because God knows you need them and he will provide.). So don’t worry your pretty-or handsome- little heart. He’s got your back!