Kimberly Willis - Her Faith Propelled Her Through Her Biggest Storm, Now a Breast Cancer Survivor in Her 30s
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
October 22, 2020
In the United States, according to http://www.breastcancer.org, about 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. This year alone, it's estimated that more than 276,000 new cases will be diagnosed in women and nearly 2,600 new cases in men are expected. Yes, if you didn't know, Breast Cancer can be found in both women and men.
Unfortunately, for women, the death rate is higher than any other known cancer besides lung cancer.
The details and the numbers are startling but, they are indeed factual.
For women in the African American community, they are more likely to die of breast cancer than any other race of women by 40%. In fact, in women under the age of 45, it's more common in Black women than white women. The good news is that according to http://www.cdc.gov, the number of deaths from breast cancer are decreasing especially in younger black women.
Did you know that in young adults who are 40 and younger, that breast cancer tends to be diagnosed in its later stages? Yes or No?
Did you know that those adults have a higher mortality rate and a higher risk of metastatic recurrence? Yes, No or Maybe?
What is metastatic recurrence, you may ask! That is when breast cancer has spread to another part of the body.
Now with your knowledge of some statistics and background of Breast Cancer and how it affects black women, imagine being a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and friend.
Kimberly Willis, 37, Author of the book entitled, "Walk Through the Fire" heard the words, you have Breast Cancer at the age of 34.
Kimberly Willis spoke with us at the Telegram News as she shared her story of what life is like after becoming a breast cancer survivor. She attributes survival to her faith, the power of God and her self breast exam.
Clifton: What age was your diagnosis?
Kimberly Willis: I was 34.I had 15 out of the 16 rounds of chemo and I was an advocate for myself, not do the last the last round of chemotherapy.
Clifton: Tell us about your experience as a survivor of Breast Cancer?
What does that look and feel like?
Kimberly Willis: Fighting doesn't stop after active treatment. Everything is post treatment. There is medicine that you must take for 5-10 years after the cancer is gone. Due to myyoung age,I must take it for 10 years. All cancers are not the same, there is maintenance post treatment, physical therapy. I can never go into a hot tub; I can never have my blood pressure or blood drawn on the right arm because of lymphedema. I have to make sure tell my family what to look out for. You have to adapt to a new normal because the old youis gone. People have to adapt to the new you and not expect the old you.
Clifton:What is your advice to women, especially young women?
Kimberly Willis: First and foremost, know your body, when you're under the age of the guidelines. I would not be alive today, if I did not do a self-breast exam. I noticed a lump in Feb 2017 and my yearly exam wasn't until August 2017. If you noticed something before andwas told everything is okay and you find other lumps, get it check out again. Don't just sit on it and wait. Have a doctor that listens to you and will act on it. Be your own advocate.
Clifton:How did you feel as a wife, mother, sister and 1st Lady of New Jerusalem MBC in Inkster?
Kimberly Willis: It was hard wearing all of those hats and still trying to be normal.
Having those roles, gave me the drive to fight.
Clifton:What did your faith look like?
Kimberly Willis: Faith is what got me through, before the words came out the doctors' mouth, I was prepared for it. When I felt the lump, it didn't feel right.Being asked to get an immediate
X-ray that was the second and then, I got the phone call from the doctor. I asked God to get me through, what I was getting ready to go through. I had asked him, to guide me through it.
Lady Kimberly Willis, also lost both of her parents to cancer during her battle with breast cancer. She says that singing gave her the strength and the extra push to fight through it all.
Kimberly Willis: Singing to God became an intimate moment.
Clifton:Author Kim Willis, tell us about your book entitled: Walk through Fire
Kimberly Willis: Walk through Fire is a survivor's story and a devotional book. It's more than just breast cancer, it's also about surviving the death of a loved one. The devotionals are at the end of the chapter and they're geared towards life. The book, is designed to provide hope, an outlet and to speak to the mental space of the survivor or care giver. How to survive in your own storm, to give insight without complaining. A survivor doesn't stop with cancer, it can be domestic abuse, financial, or whatever your facing. This book lets you know what it's like to be a cancer survivor or a family member of a cancer survivor.
Clifton:Is there anything else you want to tell us about?
Kimberly Willis: Your pain has purpose, sometimes it's not just for you. My story has produced a book, a life of advocacy and who knows the lives that have been touch and inspired.
Don't wait until October to start checking breast for both male and female. Don't be afraid of the outcome. Go see about it!
Clifton:Where can we find your book?
Kimberly Willis: You can find my book on my website, at http://www.49rose.com or on Amazon.
Clifton: For those who would like know, do you have any upcoming events?
Kimberly Willis: Yes, coming up next month Nov 24th, I will be speaking at the Michigan Association for Female Entrepreneurs (MAFE), along with 100 other women across the region as apart of the Women Entrepreneurs Conference Virtual 2020.
Clifton: Where can people follow you on social media?
Kimberly Willis: You can follow me on Instagram at k_willis83 and Facebook: Kim Willis
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; remember that self-breast exams saves lives of both women and men. For more information on breast cancer or how to properly do a self exam, visit http://www.breastcancer.org