Vanessa Bell Calloway: “By The Grace Of God, I’m Still Here”
Movie and television actress Vanessa Bell Calloway, who is best known for her roles in What’s Love Got to Do with It and Coming to America, has her own story to tell…her battle with cancer.
Calloway has always been a stickler for good health. As a former dancer, she exercised consistently and followed a healthy diet for the most part. She was also diligent about her annual mammograms and pap smears, and thought she was doing all of the right things. Yet, about four years ago, she knew something in her body just wasn’t right. She just felt it.
“I thought they were going to tell me that I had some incurable blood disease – I’m very dramatic! I had missed my mammogram because the place I usually went to closed,” the actress said. “I had to find a new place, but life happened, and I got busy. However, breast cancer — that was the last thing on my mind because since the age of 40, my mammograms came back clear.”
Still, Calloway just didn’t feel right.
“I went to the doctor and had him do everything, blood work and all kinds of tests. He asked if I had pain. I didn’t. He finally asked about my mammogram, and then sent me to get one immediately.”
They called her back because they saw some abnormalities in her right breast, and a biopsy was scheduled.
The actress went back to work, but waiting a week for the results was extreme stressful. Yet, Calloway, who was doing a show in a theater at the time, was able to find comfort in a unique source — a legendary gospel song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow. ”
“If God is watching a little sparrow, surely he’s watching me,” Calloway said. “That song soothed me and got me through that period.”
It was determined that the actress needed a lumpectomy, which was performed, but the doctor called her back because he wasn’t happy with the success margins of the results and wanted todo another one.
“I was fine with that because I didn’t think anything was wrong. I just thought, ‘let’s knock this puppy out the park!’ At this point I had told no one but my