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Faridah Thomas: Breast Cancer Journey of Faith & Self-Advocacy

Faridah Thomas | @fari_speaks | 41 y/o 

I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Stage 2 Breast Cancer on December 18, 2020. I had put off my mammogram due to the pandemic, until one day I began to have crippling shoulder pain and had to be seen. I had a biopsy after abnormalities in the mammogram, was diagnosed and had my surgery one month later with a lot of complications. Additionally, I had 31 sessions of radiation therapy. Since I’m a type-1 diabetic, I wasn’t healing as fast and kept being hospitalized due to infections, poor healing, etc. I suffered financially because I’m a single mother and the head of my household, so despite my illness, everything as far as bills and responsibilities fell on me. I knew battling diabetes was expensive, and sometimes I went without my medication.

Cancer put me into another situation going from middle class to below the poverty line within 6 months. This is my first time being paycheck to paycheck and it still does not cover bills or food. I’m making it through just barely. My phone rings day and night from bill collectors, but I keep my faith that one day I won’t be afraid of my situation. I also suffer from Lymphedema from my breast cancer surgery, so that incurable complication is the gift that keeps giving. I have to get physical therapy, which is expensive as well, so I consider it a luxury. It’s just expensive to fight for your life. I depleted my savings battling for my life and would do it again. I was diagnosed at 38 years old and have been cancer-free for 3 years! Now, I advocate for others experiencing the same!

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