Leona - Co-Survivor to Deborah

"No one saw the tears I cried or understood the reality of the fear I felt upon pondering if my sister would live to see another day. Co-survivors are also champions."

Our lives were forever changed when Mommy took her last breath. My siblings and I figured lung cancer would never be a fate of ours again, since none of us smoked. The dark cloud that the debilitating disease of cancer settles over its victims and survivors would be gone, so we thought. 

In 2015, Deborah was diagnosed with cancer. My siblings and I were all once again, faced with the possibility of a harsh reality. Would we lose our big sister? Deborah fought with everything in her.

We didn’t want to lose another loved one to cancer. Deborah wanted to live for her only child Bene’, the love of her life. Following her first surgery, shortly thereafter, victory was realized. Deborah won her battle. In the dawning of a new day, none of us were prepared for the war hidden beyond the horizon within a new decade.

Following celebratory moments and five years later, I was sitting in my living room when Deborah called to inform me she was once again diagnosed with cancer.  This time it was Breast Cancer. It’s 2020, the world is filled with so much grief, division and uncertainty. Yet again, the dark cloud continues expanding because there is no cure for Breast Cancer.

This time around, Deborah was specific and clear about her desires. She refused to have her breast removed and decided if the treatment did not work she would let God take her. Deborah’s emotional wave was a culmination of peacefulness and unrest, due to the affliction she soldiered through daily. In big sister fashion, her affairs were in order. We prayed for a favorable outcome. After several bouts of radiation treatment, burnt skin, breast augmentation, hair coming out in patches, emotional scars, nausea, loss of appetite, pain in her body and more, she was cleared. Deborah danced her way down the hall and rang the warrior bell.

Victory is sweet! Deborah is still here. Together, my siblings and I give God all the glory. No one saw the tears I cried or understood the reality of the fear I felt upon pondering if my sister would live to see another day. She is my first friend, and has been a lifetime companion. Co-survivors are also champions. As a result of my experience, I have committed to shining a spotlight monthly on the stories of Co-survivors and Survivors fighting daily to preserve life from my platform. We need a cure and that begins with sharing the countless stories that go unheard and untold.

Are you a survivor, spouse, friend, or caretaker with a story to tell? We'd love to hear from you.

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