Josette Powers - August 2019
Updated: Aug 31, 2019
SISTA Survivor: I am so excited that you’ve decided to share your battle against breast cancer with SISTA SURVIVOR. Let’s begin looking into your pre-cancer days. Could you briefly describe your life before breast cancer?
Josette: Life before Breast Cancer was typical. I had two children I was taking care of. Going to work every day and just living life. Now that I think about it, I was just existing. So glad that the challenge I faced with Breast Cancer has me “woke” (lol) now. So, I am truly living my best life.
SS: When were you diagnosed and at what age? Josette: I was diagnosed at the age of 33.
SS: What kind of cancer we’re you diagnosed with? Josette: It was Stage IV Inflammatory
SS: How was the cancer initially detected?
Josette: Self- exam at least 2 years before I was even diagnosed. I had to fight my HMO primary doctor who stated that it was just a cyst. But I knew deep down it was something else. I would go see her and she would say I don’t feel anything, which was true because it moved, I would feel for it and it would be gone. So, I brushed it off until one day my son asked me why do I have a ball in my shirt, I looked down and my left breast was the size of a grape fruit. Scared the hell out of me. So, I went the emergency room and August of 2005 I was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. If you feel deep down that something is going on with your body, be very diligent about your own health, get a second opinion first one doesn’t hear you. You know your body better than anyone.
SS: Wowww I am so happy that you didn't give up!!
SS: We know that about 10% of all breast cancers are hereditary, did you have a family history prior to your diagnosis?
Josette: Cannot be entirely sure, but I do know that on my mom’s side no history. As for my biological dad I am not sure.
SS: As a woman, your femininity is important to and we like to feel beautiful. Your quality of life is also very important. Do you think this aspect of women’s surgery was addressed during your treatment?
Josette: Absolutely, my treatment was done at Moffit, my doctors were the best they always complemented me on how beautiful I looked each visit, even though I knew I looked like death. I was given a prescription for a wig, which I didn’t use. I rocked my scarves and big hoop earrings and called it a day. I still felt pretty, hell if I didn’t think I was beautiful who would. (LOL)
SS: Did you face any obstacles during your treatment process? If so, how did you overcome these obstacles?
Josette: No, I never had any obstacles during treatment THANK GOD!!!
SS: How did you feel when you first received the news?
Josette: When I first got the news, I was more shocked than anything, No tears just a confused looked. I told the doctor okay so what do I have to do to get rid of this mess, I don’t have time for this I have a lot of living to do. He looked at me and smiled and told me to keep the positive attitude and I would be alight. Scared, confused. Why me? What did I do to deserve this? I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. So why me? My beautiful mom said something to me that had me thinking for many years “Why not you?” no explanation, nothing just why not you? Many years went by and I always had that question in the back of my mind. Never thought I could answer it until we had a scare with my baby sister, and that’s when I knew I could answer my mother’s question, Because I was the chosen one. And I was able to help my sister through it, to stay calm and think positive. I felt that I went through BC for her and she didn’t have to worry she was good. I prayed and asked GOD to make it so my sister wouldn’t have to go through what I went through. And HE heard my prayer and answered it. My sister was just fine.
SS: Won't HE do it!!! SS: What did your support system look like during your treatment?
Josette: Oh wow, my support system was my immediate family. My mother-Shearline, moved to Tampa to take of me and her grands. Mommie was and is my rock. My dad-Sam, had no problem with that, he came down every two weeks to support us as well. My siblings Regina, Thomas, O’Dell, Charles, Nikita and most of all my two children Antwain and Sovani, they went through this with me. Day in and day out. I am so blessed that I had them to cheer me on. From my daughter being my little nurse giving me my neupogen shots every night, to my son cutting my hair to a low boy cut. I think its very important for anyone with children and they are going through this life changing scare to include your children, talk to them let them know what’s going on so that they won’t be scared and can understand what you’re going through. I continued to work, I felt that being active and going on with my life and not sit around thinking “OMG I have this potential deadly disease that could kill me what am I going to do”, I DECIDED TO LIVE, IF NOT FOR ME FOR MY CHILDREN.
SS: How long have you been cancer-free?
Josette: 13 years and a funny story. About 3 years ago, I went to my regular yearly mammo appointment and doctor visit. My oncologist stated that there was no mammographic evidence of malignancy basically my mammo was benign. And she had some great news, I looked up and she had the biggest smile that I had ever seen on her. I was thinking wow I won something (because I never win anything lol) and I could see her mouth moving and I could hear her but it was like she was in slow motion “ Josette, I won’t be seeing you anymore (my thought was like oh she moving on to another hospital) congratulations you have been cancer free for over 10 years you have graduated to the survivorship clinic now. I am hearing her but was so shocked that it had been over 10 years that I went through something that changed my entire life, my entire outlook. God is such an awesome GOD and he choose me.
SS: He sure is!! Do you have any words of wisdom that you would like to share with our future SISTA Survivors?
Josette: Live life to the fullest. Keep stress away. Get your yearly checkups. The most important is make sure you tell your family and friends that you love them, because one moment you’re here the next you could be gone. Never live with regrets!!! AND KEEP STRESS AND NEGATIVITY AWAY!!!!
SS: THANK YOU SO MUCH JOE for sharing your story with us!! I am honored to feature you because YOU were there for ME when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer!