My Story: “I Don’t Fight Alone!”

Sylvia Newsome“I am a breast cancer survivor!” Like most survivors, Sylvia Newsome proclaims her survivor status loud and proud. The 50-year-old Mesquite, Texas resident was diagnosed with Stage II triple negative breast cancer in March 2016 after she found a lump while performing a self exam. “Six months prior to this I had my annual mammogram which was normal,” Newsome told Read on to learn about her journey and how she “keeps on keeping on. Was the possibility of breast cancer something that was on your radar? Was there a history of it in your family?
SN: I have a large family history of different cancers. My family physician referred me for genetic counseling months prior to my diagnosis. Unfortunately, my insurance denied testing because I did not have enough of a family history even though my mother was a survivor and two of my cousins had all battled breast cancers. Walk us through life after first receiving the diagnosis.
SN: Absorbing the stage II breast cancer diagnosis was a difficult realization. My husband, Willie, and I cried for nearly two weeks straight. Almost simultaneously, we stopped shedding tears and stated, “Okay, what’s next?” Describe your treatment process. How did you overcome challenges?
SN: Diagnostic testing was done immediately and frequently to confirm the stage and type of breast cancer and implement a plan of care. After confirming that I had bilateral triple negative breast cancer, genetic testing was performed in which I tested positive for both breast and ovarian bracket genes (BRC1 and BRC2). My doctors then consulted with me and developed a plan of care which included: surgery to have a mediport (central line) implanted and infuse my first dose of chemotherapy the same day, chemotherapy for three months, a bilateral mastectomy with 11 lymph nodes removed and which 3 were positive for metastatic cancer on the pathology report. Then three more months of chemotherapy followed by six weeks of daily radiation. Later came my hysterectomy and this coming summer, I will finish with bilateral breast reconstructive surgery.

I think I am still overcoming challenges. I keep going and try to maintain a positive outcome by celebrating small milestones and speaking positive affirmations daily. I have learned to be at peace about my diagnosis and condition to continue to move forward and make progress.  I keep on keeping on!