Survivor Stories

Survivor Stories

Sharine T. Symonette -Three Time Cancer Survivor

12/11/2015 1:38:00 PM


Cancer was the last thing on my mind when I felt the small lump and went to have a mammogram and ultra sound done. This was August 2011. Upon receiving the news that it did not look good, I decided to go to another doctor who scheduled an excision biopsy to remove the lump and test it.  This was my first surgery.  Two weeks later my doctor gave me the dreadful news.  I thought, “Me, cancer and no family history.” My mind immediately went on a friend who died from cancer. I remember how her body deteriorated and I pictured myself in that state. Then my mind went on my children and I thought about leaving them behind. Right then, I snapped out of it and made a decision to fight this disease.

I immediately had a lumpectomy done. More bad news came when ten (10) lymph nodes were removed and nine (9) tested positive to be cancerous. They were like soldiers getting ready to invade my body. I then had a PET CT scan done and the results were it had not spread. 

I then started chemotherapy treatment.  The side effects were very strong as I lost all my hair during the first treatment.  I’m talking bald like the palm of my hand, clean, clean, clean.  In addition to this, there was bad constipation, but with the Lord on my side, He brought me through the remainder of my treatments.  Some were smoother than others but I completed them all.

My treatments at the Cancer Centre consisted of six (6) chemotherapy treatments, once every three weeks, followed by six (6) weeks of radiation treatment, five days a week.  I was then put on pills for the next five years.

After two years of being in remission I did my annual mammogram and the results were great but I started to feel pain in my body, so I went to the doctor who did further test. The PET CT Scan results revealed that the cancer had come back and metastasis to my bones and lungs at stage IV. It was not a good report. Even though I did not question the Lord, I had lots of questions for my doctor. I had noticed some weight loss but cancer was the last thing on my mind. I again had to immediately begin treatments. One month prior I had taken out my port-a-cath and had to undergo surgery to put it back. I never would have thought to have to do Chemotherapy again. This time I had to do treatments once per week for eighteen consecutive weeks. This treatment was much stronger than the first but the dosage however was smaller so it was more tolerable. Again back to losing all my hair. The pain was still unbearable so I had to undergo ten days of radiation that eased the pain. My eating habits also changed tremendously, I totally cut out red meat and sugar and added a lot more fruits and vegetables.

By then, I had lost twenty-five pounds. I felt weak and tired all the time and had to undergo a blood transfusion. At one point I thought I was not going to make it and prepared my obituary. I had to immediately rebuke the devil and told him that he is a liar and I shall not die but live. I looked in the mirror and saw a total stranger, but regardless of how my body looked on the outside my faith began to grow strong on the inside. I quoted healing scriptures every opportunity I got. I spoke life and trusted in God. Again death was not an option for me. When some friends forsake me and gave me up to die, the Lord was there with me every step of the way. After I completed my treatments I did another Pet Ct scan and the results revealed that NO cancer was seen anywhere in my body. Not even a spot. This is after two doctors gave me up to die. I know that it’s only God and proved that he is an awesome doctor that still heals and delivers. I give Him praise and thanks every day because I know it’s only because of His grace and mercy that I am here today.

Another year has passed and again I followed up with a PET CT Scan. I could not believe what I was hearing. The results reveled that the cancer came back a third time. Again to my bones and lungs at stage 4. I was not hearing this. No way. I refused to accept this diagnose. I told myself that am healed and I’m holding faith. I just totally put this situation in the Lords hand.

While on vacation in Philadelphia, the Lord directed me to call the Cancer Treatment Center of America. They informed me that they would accept my insurance at 100%. I knew that it could have only been the Lord because four years earlier the Atlanta branch refused my insurance. Again, having to go through six sessions of Chemotherapy every three weeks. Having to go through the side effects all over again, but the Lord always provided the strength and support that I needed. Upon Completion of my treatments, I did another PET CT scan and the results revealed again No cancer was seen anywhere in my body. I am trusting the Lord to keep it this way. I am now a three time cancer survivor. I know that the battle is not mine, but it belongs to the Lord.

I am in no way discouraged, but grateful that I have life. I am thankful for the opportunity to encourage someone else who may be going through their storm or trail and to let them know that there is hope. No matter what your storm or trail may be. Know that God still hears and answers prayers. Know that he still is in the healing business, and I’m continuing to trust Him.

There were other trials in my life but God promised in His word that He will not put more on me than I can bear.  I now realize that trials only come to make us stronger.  The song writer says, “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow, thank God I know who holds my hand.”    

Yes, there were some who laughed and scorned, but Cancer does not discriminate.  It attacks the rich, the poor, the black, the white, the young and the old.    Sometimes we have to go through the fire to come out as pure as Gold, and these tests gave me a great testimony.

I joined the Sister, Sister Breast Cancer Support Group who has been a great help to me financially, spiritually, and physically. If only an encouraging word when I needed it or someone to talk too they were there. I thank God for this dynamic group of women who believe in helping others and have assisted so many people. During the past four years, I made great friends with other survivors from this group, and together we help encourage and assist as many persons as we possibly could. I would also like to especially thank my family for their love and support. They have been there for me every step of the way and I am indeed grateful.

I made the decision to go public within one month of being diagnosed with Breast Cancer when most people probably would have hidden, not knowing that the more people knew, the more people prayed for me.  I have now completed my book on my journey with cancer entitled “Candle In the Wind” The burning candle symbolizes storms and trials in the midst of an ever-present hope.  I also encourage females to do self-breast examinations and have mammograms done every year.  We know that early detection is the key, so together let’s fight this epidemic called cancer.

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January 13, 2018

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