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August 2012 Survivor of the Month – Lucille Tanksley
Lucille Tankley’s Story by Elizabeth H.R. Osterberger
Lucille Tanksley is a kind, beautiful intelligent woman. Another one I am so glad I had the pleasure to meet. She wished to be photographed in her church, which had beautiful rainbow colored stained glass windows inside and rich purple tapestries. She told me how her family was connected to the church and some of the history. A very strong woman, you would never have guessed she’s been through some pretty tough medical stuff.
She says, “When I discovered the lump in my breast, during self examination, I became instantly alarmed as to what I believed the lump represented. Having worked as a nurse and caring for patients with cancer, I thought I knew the diagnosis of the lump. However, instead of seeing my primary physician, I immediately went into denial for several months. After several months of denial, I began to share with my co-workers my finding of the lump, and their questions to me concerning rather or not I was experiencing any pain. My response was “no” but, I had a very bad itch in the breast. My co-workers were very instrumental in their efforts of support and encouraging me to see my physician without any further delay. The first step was to have a mammogram and a biopsy of my right breast. My thoughts of denial soon changed to prayerful thoughts as I prepared for surgery and chemotherapy. I knew that this was only a test and one that I could only pass by maintaining my faith and trust in God.” Lucille found her faith to be a great comfort and source of strength throughout her cancer journey.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure was a great thing for Lucille. “During my healing process, I was not aware of the Susan G. Komen foundation, however, having learned about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure has made me more aware of the need to support, and help others to cope during their prognosis and to gain more knowledge of this disease as it has also effected the lives of many African-American women. This foundation has encouraged my children to begin the buddy check and ensure that we continue to receive regular mammograms and perform self examinations.”
Like most of our survivors, Lucille is a big advocate for self awareness and support. “As a survivor or co-survivor I believe that it is equally important to support others, not only by reminding them to have their yearly check-up but go with them for that moral support. Having a positive attitude and following the orders of my doctors as I underwent surgery, having a mastectomy and completing eight weeks of chemotherapy, I knew I was healed, as the excellent prognosis was confirmed,” she says. “My advice is everyone, male and female should give themselves a self-breast exam along with regular mammograms. My children, grandchildren and family members have participated in the Race for the Cure, for several years as I just celebrated twenty years as a breast cancer survivor.” (Congrats, to you!) “Breast cancer did not change me, but only strengthen my faith in God with a testimony for others, that God is still in the healing business, as we witness new miracles every day. I am a miracle and true survivor and welcome the opportunities to become a motivational speaker at special events.”
We hope to be hearing from this inspiring woman in the future and are glad to add her to our list of honorees.