Graduation was near I was twenty-five and ready to continue to work on a master’s in nursing. I was focused on that exciting day. Surely there would be many wonderful memories from the events of that day. Two weeks before graduation is when my life took a turn. Friday, November 30 th , 2007 is a day that will always be embedded into my memory. That was the day that I heard the words, “you have breast cancer.” Well, I was not too surprised because I have a strong family history and just a year before my younger sister had gone through a journey that I will now face. I pleaded to the doctor to wait until after graduation. I needed to at least close that chapter of my life. He agreed since the ceremony would be less than six months away. My mother was by my side when the diagnosis was given.

When I was given my plan of action I immediately felt overwhelmed and tears began to flow down my face. I didn’t know what to feel. All I knew was that my life would be changed forever and hoped that in the end I would be strengthen.

I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. After only spending two days in the hospital I was released into my mothers care. Thankfully she was able to take time off work. I felt for her so so much because it seemed like she’d just finished caring for my sister. I thank God for her because it would have been a struggle without her.

Chemotherapy at times can be so discouraging to the point that there were days that I did not want to continue. I wasn’t able to be myself. I felt trapped and unable to escape. Recently, I have felt a sense of freedom growing inside, because it is now the end of April and I am 10 weeks away from my final dose of chemotherapy. I am so excited to slowly begin to do the activities that I love to do.

Having the diagnosis of breast cancer was a task I still struggle with pain but I am thankful that I am overcoming victoriously. This journey has been long, tough, and difficult but it has made me more appreciative of life, family, and friends.

I would like to thank my mother and my daughter Mia and others who have shown their courage doing this time. Also I would like to give a big “thanks” to The Nicki Leach Foundation. Thanks for taking the initiative to bless young cancer patients in honor of your beloved daughter, Nicki Leach.

Thank you and God’s blessings,

ShanQuiesha R. Robinson, RT, BA