My grandmother's sister and brother Inez and Elgin Cooper
My Aunt Nez was diagnosed with breast cancer later in life.
|My Grandmother Marie Huffman Died from Breast Cancer Age 36|
|My niece Aubrie with my sister Lauri on Mother's Day 2006|
|My mother Omega and her little sister Ruth Ellen 1948|
|Radiation, Chemo and Surgery and Still Smiling!|
|My cousin Krista Hanna Hines ( my Aunt Ellen's Daughter was diagnosed in 2011 while my Aunt her mother was still having treatment) This was taken in 2012 my family is tough when it comes to CANCER!|
|I put this on the windshield of my motorcycle for a 2013 Breast Cancer Ride in TN. These are the women in my family that have been affected by Breast Cancer. We are from strong stock!|
Many people think of Breast Cancer as the cancer for older women. But this story is about the real faces of Breast Cancer. It is not just women in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s that get this it is now women that are in their 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s. Some say it is genetic and it probably is in my family. My grandmother died when she was thirty-six years old my uncle was two years old at the time. All of my great-aunts also developed it at different stages of their lives but not all died from the disease. In February of 2008 my mother’s younger sister; Dr. Ruth Ellen Hanna found a small lump that mammogram had not detected. We felt sure it was nothing since the mammogram had not seen it. We were wrong. Once again breast cancer had touched our family. Ellen made the decision to have a double mastectomy due to the fact of our genetics. She made the right decision. When the test came back the other breast that had no sign of cancer came back positive for cancer cells and a very small growth. She is now on the road of treatment and recovery. In fact less than one week after such a radical surgery she attended her granddaughter’s college graduation ceremony at Louisiana Tech. Louisiana Tech has been my Aunt’s whole life. She is a math professor and has been teaching math since she graduated from Tech. Her daughter (and my cousin) Krista is also a math teacher at Tech. I like to say that side of the family got all the brains. Mine got diluted with the Brown genes! In 2011 again my family was struck by CANCER when Krista Hanna Hines was diagnosed. Again a double mastectomy, radiation, and chemo for a year. I live in fear not for me but for Aubrie and the younger girls in our family.
Cancer research has come along way since the early 1950’s. Treatments are so much more advanced and maybe not as harsh as and much more hopeful than fifty years ago. Now Cancer is not a death sentence but it is still a shock to everyone involved. I wanted to do this story about the new faces of Breast Cancer so that younger women will be more aware and remember that it can happen to young and old alike. Remember to get your yearly exams and if it runs in your family get a mammogram even if insurance doesn’t pay for it, age has no barrier with this terrible disease.
I am also proud to say that my sister Lauri is a Cancer Survivor. After going through almost three years of surgery and extensive treatments she is strong and has a will to survive that I admire and hope that I would also have if I were told the same news that she had to deal with. She is a natural fighter from the time we were kids and even now we still fight. She always wins! She does not give up until she gets her way and maybe that gives her the edge to fight for her life like she has. My niece is now nine years old and we think of her as a miracle because she kept everyone focused during those terrible years of struggle. God blessed us with this beautiful baby girl to get us focused and to deal with the hard times that were ahead.
The following letter was written by Lauri to preacher Rick Spencer of the First Baptist Church in Minden during the beginning of her treatment in 1997. It was also the beginning of my learning about how to email and try to contact every prayer room and church and anyone else that I thought could send a message to Heaven. I was determined to have the whole world pray for my family and I may have come close to my goal. Lauri started to get cards, letters, books, anointed cloth, phone calls and even written about in the Survivors Magazine in California. She once went for treatment at LSU and someone in the hall said, “So you are the famous Lauri Stahl! Did you know that people all over Shreveport are praying for you? She told this man that it wasn’t just Shreveport is was all over the world!”
The Chicken Soup for the Soul books had just started coming out and many of the people that had written in these books called and contacted Lauri during this time. We started a scrapbook that turned into two or three filled with prayers and love from people that we have never met. But the amazing part was that they cared enough to stop and call a complete stranger just because of the story that I had mailed and put out on the internet. The power of prayer is an awesome thing to behold. I believe that what happened with my sister was a true miracle.
“I’ve been blessed with Cancer” by Lauri Brown Stahl was sent to thousands of people around the world and later published in the Survivors Magazine.
“I’ve Been Blessed With Cancer”
“How”, you asked, “could anyone be blessed with cancer?” I, too, would ask myself that same question if I hadn’t been diagnosed with it a month ago.
After being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I’ve never before received such an outpouring of love from so many people. I have been wondering to myself, “How in the world am I ever going to thank everyone for the cards, letters, flowers, visits, and most of all, the prayers I’ve been receiving.
It’s Thursday, May 22, 1997 another sleepless night, due to the steroids, the doctors say, I received from my first chemo treatment a week ago. After tossing in bed for hours, I finally just got up. I picked up the “Praise Newsletter” that came in the mail yesterday and I began to read. I was comforted in so many ways and I said to myself, “I’m going to start writing down some of my thoughts.”
It was only three days after this past Christmas when I lost my brother from his own battle with major depression. “Why?” I asked God, “Did this have to happen?” I was angry, frustrated, confused, and every emotion you could imagine came over me. Prayers for my family began pouring in from everyone. The loss of Jeff has been overwhelming at times, but I can always find comfort in knowing that ‘one sweet day’ we’ll all be together again for eternity.
Almost four months after our loss, I was put in the hospital for a biopsy and the next day followed with a mastectomy. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of thirty and precious little Aubrie was all of eight months old. All I knew from that point was that I had to get well for my family. “Why?” again I asked God, “Was this family chosen to deal with another horrible illness?”
Your love and compassion for me and my family began to pour in again. God has spoken to me through your cards and letters and so many of the words I repeat to myself daily…”God never gives us more than we can handle”, “He hears us when we speak”, “Ask and you shall receive”, “He is the great physician”, “He walks beside me wherever I am “, “He is with me always”…and so many more have comforted me.
I still have more treatments to come, followed by a bone marrow transplant, followed by radiation, followed by five years of oral treatment. It’s still a long road ahead, but I know that God will be with me every step of the way.
You ask yourself again, “How could she be blessed to have cancer?” Well, I can answer that by saying, “God has opened by eyes and showed me not to take ‘life’ for granted and every chance you get, and show love and compassion for someone else as you all have shown to me. I’ve quit asking “Why?” and am now thanking God for everyday and everything He gives me, no matter how horrible the day may be or how rough the road ahead may get. I’m truly blessed with His love!”
God Bless All,