Photo courtesy of Sisters’ Journey.
Sisters’ Journey Survivor of the Month – Denise Goggins Dyson
Read her story (thanks www.sistersjourney.org)
I am a metastatic breast cancer conqueror!!
Born and raised in Hartford and current resident of Bloomfield, CT, I was living a normal healthy life prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 51.
In August 2015 I noticed a change in one of my breasts and immediately scheduled an appointment with my primary care doctor. She saw the change and also felt a lump. Upon leaving her office I was immediately on a fast track – mammogram, ultra sound, and a biopsy. Mind you, every year I always had my mammograms in September. However, this was one month prior to my scheduled mammogram.
After all the testing was done, on August 28, 2015, my doctor told my husband and I that the biopsy was cancerous. There was a mass on my left breast and it had spread to the lymph nodes. I was diagnosed with what is called Inflammatory Breast Cancer; Triple Negative, an aggressive type of breast cancer. The news was devastating. All kinds of thoughts immediately ran through my mind. How long am I going to live? How long am I going to be sick? Am I going to have to have my breast removed? What will I look like? The thoughts went on and on.
When my husband and I returned home, we talked, cried together, prayed together and then pulled ourselves together!! After the tears and prayer my husband said, “With God’s help, we’ll go through the process and get through the journey and you’re going to be fine.” I thank God for a praying husband!! At that moment, I decreed and declared Psalm 118:17 “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”
The Lord immediately spoke to me and said, “You can’t be silent.” I share this because if it were up to me, I would have gone through this in silence. I would not have shared with anyone but my immediate family. But God had another plan. So, we couldn’t go through it alone. I opened up and told my family and friends. The love and support shown was so amazing and the shared journey began.
I went for a second opinion and decided to have my chemotherapy treatments at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. From the time I was diagnosed until my first chemotherapy (September 30, 2015), the mass had almost tripled in size. I underwent chemotherapy every other week for four months. I am grateful that at every treatment, my husband was right there with me.
After each chemotherapy the mass kept shrinking, getting smaller and smaller. After my third treatment, the oncologist could no longer measure the mass. His exact 2 words were, “there’s no beginning and no ending.” I knew God was healing me and I was waiting for the manifestation!!!
As I went through the treatments, every day was not always easy, but every day I thanked God in advance for my healing. I read scripture and listened to praise songs. God is so awesome!
Once, when I tried to have a pity party, God wouldn’t allow it. He said, “This is not your body, it belongs to Me. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” He reminded me of His word!! In February 2016 I had a unilateral mastectomy followed by radiation. I was healed and moving forward.
In 2016 the Lord placed upon my heart to have a luncheon to honor breast cancer survivors. In October 2016 the first luncheon was held, “Celebration of Breast Cancer Survivorship.” This has been an annual luncheon ever since. The luncheons have been a blessing with survivors sharing their stories, women and men being educated and enlightened about breast cancer and seeing survivors thriving and living victoriously. Because of my journey, I had a desire to help others get through their journey and in April 2017 I started a breast cancer support group, Shared Journey.
My journey continued. On April 25, 2017 I was diagnosed with recurrent & metastatic breast cancer. The cancer had spread around my lungs & chest. The prognosis was not good. The oncologist said I had about one year to 18 months to live. But I held on to my faith and believed God and His Word!! It is by His stripes that I am healed!! No matter what it looks like, or what I’m going through, or what the doctor report says, I still believe God. “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.” In May 2017 I restarted chemo at St. Francis Women’s Comprehensive Center in Hartford. I kept the faith and I believed that God was working it together for my good and I was getting better. In December 2017 and April 2018, I had scanning and imaging done. There was no evidence of cancer cells in my body. To God be the glory!!
As I continue on this journey, cancer cells continue to try and invade my body but I am determined to stand on God’s promises. While I still have chemotherapy to maintain my healing, I know that God’s grace is sufficient for me and I am still here.
I thank God for what He is doing in my life and I thank Him for the outpouring of love and support from all of my family and friends. I am especially grateful for the support and unconditional love of my wonderful husband, John Dyson, Jr.!
For more stories of hope visit us @ www.sistersjourney.org