seperator

Our Founder's Story...

I am LIVED2TELL and here's my story

So where do I begin? I had never heard of the word CANCER before in my life! What is Cancer? How does it occur? Can it happen to me? Nah, Not me; definitely not me! Why not you, Cheryl? RING... RING…

If you have not thought about the devastation that cancer can bring, you have been living in a dream world. Everyone knows someone that had or has cancer. Cancer has taken up residence in my body three times! It has had a profound impact on every aspect of my life.

I was in my early twenties the first time I had a personal experience with cancer. I thought I was at the top of my game. Now go with me, you are a very strong confident black woman, 24 year old young lady, built like a brick house (36-24-36), good attitude and no worries at all. I was planning to marry my high school sweetheart, the love of my life, real soon. I was going to be THE most beautiful bride! I thought I had it all together. You know how it can be when you are young and your head is in the sky.

I remember going inside the house one very hot summer day to take a long, cool shower and chill out. I was standing in the shower singing and thinking about how good my life was going to be after I got married. Can you imagine picking up a bar of soap, placing it on your towel, and making lots of white soapy foam? You close your eyes and begin to wash the hot sweat away from your body with the beautiful white foam.

You look down at your breast expecting to see a beautiful breast with white frosting. Instead, you see pink icing with a reddish discharge squirting out of your nipple every time you put any pressure on your breast!!! You panic and start to cry! You begin to freak out...You scream. You run around the house looking for something, anything, you can use to pad your breast. You are afraid. You hold your breast.

You had been told all your life that you do not play with your breast. Who are you going to tell that you touched “it” and it’s bleeding: No one. It became a secret. I kept it from my husband to be and family until after I was married. In one minute, I went from “the top of my game” to the bottom of a pit filled with confusion, pain, frustration and disbelief.

I finally worked up the courage to tell my secret to my husband and family. I expected them to provide encouragement and reassurance to me, but instead they were so devastated that they were unable to be the support that I so desperately needed. No matter where I turned, no one seemed to know what to say to me or how to help make me feel whole again. Can you imagine someone you love standing before you distorted, confused, spaced out and unable to speak words of consolation to refresh your spirit?

This was only the beginning of my many traumatic life changes caused by this deadly disease that I knew nothing about! I am 24 years old. On my way to the hospital to get my left breast removed; a mastectomy the removal of the entire breast! Wow, when the bandages came off. I was shocked; it wasn’t there anymore one of my 36’s were gone. I began my pity party, oh boy, did I have one; and my self esteem plummeted. I started wearing big shirts, complaining and when the report from the doctor came…we got all the cancer out and we removed all your lymph nodes which has no sign of cancer; there is no need for any future treatments. I hide my feelings and tried hard to put my life back together but it just wasn’t the same. I was divorced, with a child, depressed and my mother said to me life goes on lets go see your Aunt and Uncle in San Diego, California.

We left and I suppressed my issues. Ladies never do this it is very important that when you are faced with a crisis you must take time to grieve the loss. This is the first step toward the healing of the mind. Unlike me, I avoided dealing with my emotional trauma and hid the pain that was growing on the inside of me.

It’s Life!

Live it and Tell!!

Yes, life does go, and seven years later, I found myself walking down this aisle of marriage again. I relocated to Georgia and was living my life and walking in God’s grace and mercy. I am checking myself thoroughly now; I don’t miss a beat! I feel something unusual. Biopsy is done; tumor tested; it is malignant. Mrs. Brown your cancer has re-occurred. We are going to have to take harsh measures. You will need to have surgery to remove the tumor and then chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The treatments will make you sterile, lose your hair, and make you sick, weak and tired. All I could think of at this time was its back again in the same breast; I just underwent a saline implant!

Now all those feelings that I suppressed were arising but the spirit of the Lord rose up in me and said “whose report shall you believe” I boldly stood up and told the doctor I shall believe the report of the Lord! I began my walk of faith! “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)

I went away with my church and my husband at that time on a marriage retreat. I came back went through my treatment; every negative report the doctor gave did not come to pass. In fact, the very opposite happened. I became pregnant with my son and had to cut my hair because it was growing too long and thick. Complications occurred after my son was born; the saline implant ruptured and had to be removed. Tram Flap reconstructive surgery (which involves removing stomach muscles and using them to rebuild the breast area) was performed. After the surgery, the Tram Flap failed an Latissimus Dorsi Flap reconstructive surgery (which involves using the long muscle that runs beneath the armpit and diagonally across the back to rebuild the breast area) was performed to complete the reconstruction process. This was only the beginning of the challenges that God allowed me to go through in order to build my faith and trust in Him. In, 1996, my husband walked out of the marriage while I was seven months pregnant with our daughter. She was conceived while my tubes were tied burnt and clamped (smiling) after the birth of my son because the doctor kept saying I needed not to have any children because of the Estrogen it would produce. What a God we serve! You have not because you ask not! All things are possible to those who trust in the Lord.

You see, today 22 years later I would tell anyone I met don’t wait to get checked; If it feels different get it checked! Examine your breasts daily young ladies; how will you know if something is wrong if you don’t know how it normally feels. Take it seriously, cancer is no joke! Live to tell someone else how you survived.

My first bout with cancer cost me my husband, self image and took me on a pity party. Each successive cancer encounter has been a brand new loss and a brand new story. Each time I lost something; but gained a lot. The sad part was I didn’t know or see the future when cancer knocked at my door for the third time. I stood strong in the word of God believing and receiving his blessings that came my way the second bout with cancer.

At the age of 38, breast cancer for the third time; I had to undergo chemotherapy, surgery, chemotherapy again after the surgery, and then radiation. My third bout with cancer took me for a loop. I was angry, upset and disappointed that cancer was back again. I didn’t care anymore. I started living life to the fullness. Inside of me wanted to die; I started taking risk on things that I would have never thought of doing. I never talked about cancer to anyone; It was my secret all over again.

Until, I told my friend, Renae. When she was washing my hair after my first chemotherapy treatment; all my hair fell out in her hands and she wanted to know what was going on. We cried; we laughed and to this day she can remember every episode. I began making unhealthy choices because I did not want to deal with cancer again. For example, I became a party animal, staying out late not getting proper rest; not eating properly.

Every cancer has cost me a cherished part of life and taught me to cherish life more. Through it all, I have struggled to survive with a positive attitude.

I had to stand up on the inside and take control of my fears. It was time to stop running. I gained control and took my power back. I became powerful through trusting Jesus and facing my fears. I went though many hurtful situations that I had to shake off in order to live and to raise my kids, who had been taking care of me.

How did I survive? Three times every seven years, maybe? Not giving up! Fighting to the end but most of all by the grace of God! “Why me, Lord” was the cry from down in my soul; as I tried to destroy my life when I was told “you have cancer” for the third time in my LIFE. “WHY ME” over and over again but in the end of 2000 and the beginning of 2001, I finally realized why… “You shall not die but live to declare the work of the Lord!”

As I wrote my very first poem (click here to read my poem); LIVED2TELL, a non-profit organization, was birthed out of my desire to share my story with other cancer survivors. Traveling back and forth, picking up cancer patients taking them to their appointments making sure they were getting medical treatment is important to me. Today, I still do that as I LIVE to TELL others how to take the “walk of faith”!

Here it is again, after dealing with three occurrences with cancer, the phone rings... It’s the doctor office calling... God promised me when LIVED2TELL was birthed, as long as I continued to do his work by being a living testimony, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.” (Psalm 118:17). Which, I truly stand on wait that’s not how the story ends; seven years later, the Fourth diagnosis – a lump was found again in the same location….But God!! The doctors could not find anything but muscles---the lump was lost to the promise God gave me to live on, Psalm 118:17!

Today is a new day; I have undergone several tests to see what is going on in my body yet again. Seven years, plus has past, since cancer’s last visit, should I be afraid? Am I afraid? RING... RING... It’s the doctor office calling... For Cheryl the will-to-do fuels the can-do to get-it-done. Cheryl’s testament is; she’s lived to tell us all about it.

Cheryl Lynn Brown, change agent for Living Life to Tell.

What are you going to do with her story? What are you doing with your story?

It’s Life!
Live it and Tell!!

Thank God for His Saving Grace, Blessings and Miracles!

Donate to Lived2Tell

To schedule speaking engagements for our founder email her at: Cheryl@lived2tell.org


designed by Staxx Media