Meet Breast Cancer Survivor Lisa McFadden

Lisa McFadden Facebook Pic

MDI: When were you diagnosed and what is your diagnosis?

LM: I was diagnosed in January 2014 after having a routine mammogram that revealed that I had developed a significant amount of calcification in both of my breast since the mammogram the year prior. I underwent additional biopsies, ultrasounds and sonograms to confirm the diagnosis. My diagnosis was Ductal Carcinoma in Situ. I had a bilateral mastectomy in May 2014. I was a initially a Stage 0/Grade 1; however, during surgery a lymph node was removed from under my armpit. It was tested and found to be positive for malignancy. The positive lymph node increased my Grade to 2-3. As a result I had to undergo chemotherapy (4 months), physical therapy (3 months), radiation (6 weeks) and I am currently on daily hormone therapy medication to end in December 2024.

MDI: Who/what/where did you turn to after hearing your diagnosis?

LM: Immediately following my diagnosis, I shared the outcome with a very close girlfriend and secondly my mother. A very private person, I initially only shared my diagnosis with those who needed to know. Primarily, it was my family because I had to undergo genetic testing and needed to know my family medical history.   As for my friends, co-workers and church/social relationships, I did not say anything until just before the surgery. Because I received my diagnosis before turning age 50, I was considered high risk and eligible for additional testing e.g., BRCA and HER. Thusly, there was a 4 month gap from the time that I learned about my diagnosis and the time that I would have the surgery and I did not want people to treat me differently during that time.

MDI: Could you describe how sharing your story has affected your journey with Cancer?

LM: Sharing my story has given me understanding of my purpose for having gone through cancer. Every year since I have been on this journey, I have been afforded an opportunity to share my testimony. This has blessed me in that I am a firm believer that my story inspires someone, encourages someone, and supports someone who may be going through. It makes feel honored to know that God chose me to be a living testimony about his healing powers.

MDI: Has your faith and prayers attributed to your healing and survival?

LM: If not for my faith in God, I truly don’t know what my prognosis would have been. My prayer definitely increased and my faith and trust in God soared. Because I knew “whose” I was and “who” was healing me, I was able to maintain a positive attitude which I will always believe was half the battle. I never questioned, “Why me Lord?”, because I always knew His response would have been “why not me!”

What “words of wisdom” and/or advice would you give any young adult facing Cancer or another life-threatening illness?

I would tell anyone facing a life threatening/traumatic event that if God brought you to it, He will surely bring you through it, so stay encouraged and put your faith and trust in Him.

MDI: What message would you like to share for women who have not had a mammogram?

LM: Although mammography may be uncomfortable, it is a necessary act in life that we must endure. Take it from me, had I not gotten my mammogram when I did, there is no telling what state my cancer would have been once detected. We must prioritize our health! Without it, you can’t do anything anyway so why not invest in your physical and mental well-being while you can.

Survivor Ledina Nelson Shares Her Breast Cancer Gift

LeDina Royster

During the fall of 2012, I had not been feeling well overall. I had weird pains in my shoulder that radiated towards my back. I was taking all kinds of over-the-counter meds hoping it would give me some relief. Finally I went to my primary care doctor and he asked me “have you had your mammogram?” Shamefully, I confessed to him that I had not. Mind you…. I had previous referrals to have one done but I never scheduled the appointment. This time however was different. My heart and spirit told me that I needed to follow through this time. So I made the appointment the following week. After having my mammogram the technician told me have a seat and wait until she returns. Note: I didn’t know this was customary as this was MY FIRST MAMMOGRAM.). After a few minutes (which seemed to be an eternity) she informed me that the radiologist will be contacting my doctor to discuss my results and most likely they will be performing an ultrasound for further testing. At that moment fear and darkness came over me like a freight train. From that moment everything was a blur….crying….more doctors appointments…. crying….biopsies…crying….. I will tell you my tears in the beginning were of “pain”. Asking God “Why me?”; “What did I do to deserve this?”; “What awful sin did I commit to warrant this?”. I was a MESS!!!!!! Emotionally distraught and physically drained. Whenever someone asked me how was I doing I would breakdown.

Long story short, January 2013 life as I knew had changed. I received that dreaded phone call from my doctor as I was driving home from work alone. He wanted me to come into the office to discuss my results but I insisted that he tell me the results immediately. I pulled over into a nearby shopping center and parked. His words were, ”You have Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma in your left breast. “ I asked him to repeat this diagnosis a few times because it did not register in my brain. I felt numb but it was also a weird feeling of “relief”. I got myself together and drove home in a daze. I talked to my family and shared the news of my diagnosis. At that point, I was more concerned for them more than I was for myself. At that point God put a calmness in my spirit that I could not explain. This was a peacefulness that I never knew before. I would cry but my tears were different. My “new” tears were more comforting and joyful because I knew God had me!!!!!

Going through the side effects of cancer treatment are NO PICNIC by far but as I am going through this journey I have learned who I can depend on…..Jesus! He has brought so much peace and calmness to my heart now to do what I have to do to beat this “unwelcome guest” in the ground. I had to learn that I cannot let this thing break my spirit. There has been some really wonderful moments that I have also experienced through this journey. This is the BC Gift for me. My faith had gone through the roof!!!! I have reconnected with some wonderful friends, met some new inspiring people, gotten closer with my family, started eating healthier AND most importantly I discovered a strength in myself that I never knew before.

So I am determined to push forward with more determination. It is my prayer that God uses me to be an example for my daughters and other women that we must persevere through life’s challenges and adversities and to lean on God to order our footsteps through this life.

I am committed to sharing my journey with hopes that it helps the newly diagnosed person with encouragement that they are not in this fight alone.