Netlyn Rose Charles has some simple advice for people who have been diagnosed with cancer: “keep faith without giving up and focus on the Supreme God. Help yourself and divine help will certainly follow.”
Charles was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer on Nov. 21, 2008.
She broke the news to her family that very morning she was diagnosed. “I could identify the amazement in their voices as we spoke on the telephone,” she recalls. “From that very moment, the support I received from my family swept me through the entire two years. My faithful and true friends were there for me the entire time.”
The date of her breast cancer diagnosis, she says, “has left an indelible mark in my mind, and every now and then it reminds me of that sunny morning that left me broken.”
Her “unfortunate situation started when I discovered a lump in my right breast. Being the person with the urgent quest for knowledge, I rushed to have a mammogram which revealed nothing to be concerned about. On a scheduled doctor’s visit, I demanded to have a biopsy which proved the mass to be benign. The mass was removed and on a follow-up visit, I was faced with the decision to choose life or death (breast cancer).”
“Treatment was not an easy road, but knowing that at the end of the tunnel there is always a light to guide me on my way, I remained calm and entrusted the knowledgeable doctors and nurses with my entire life,” she continues.
On Jan. 7, 2009 Charles had a mastectomy. Twenty-one lymph nodes were removed from her right arm.
“To everyone’s amazement, not one was positive,” she says. “All the cancer was removed from my body. To add ‘insult to injury,’ I also had a pneumothorax during surgery. Following my discharge from the hospital, I felt less of a woman and had to regain my faith in believing that, in life, nothing is a mistake and everything happened for a particular reason.”
Charles received her first chemotherapy treatment on Jan. 21, 2009. She recalls losing her hair and suffering depression. “Despite of all the setbacks in my life,” she says, “I fueled up for the remaining eight chemo and 36 radiation treatments.
“This type of treatment was ordered by my oncologists to reduce the mass, and ultimately kill all the cancer cells (bad cells) as well as the good cells that enhanced life within me. I also had three pneumonic attacks, two episodes of Deep Vein Thrombosis and had to be hospitalized on several occasions. I then became a ‘frequent flyer’ of Broward Health Medical Center.
“I sincerely thank Doctors’ Maini and Bimston, all the nurses in the Infusion center, Steve from radiation, and the social workers in the cancer center for the pride and passion they take in their work,” Charles says gratefully.