The women featured on this page represent strength, courage, and love. On each of their journeys, they found their way to AWCAA, and have since continued to support other women who are newly diagnosed and in need of support. We hope you enjoy learning about their journey.

Survivor’s Stories

 

Abeni Ogundadegbe

 

“My 17 years journey as a breast Cancer Survivor” On January 15, 2001 at the age of 45,
I was diagnosed with the stage one breast cancer. How did I find out? I didn’t know nor
ever heard of any type of cancer. About 2 months prior to my diagnosis, (around October 2000),
my breast and nipples started to itch frequently and very bad that gave me discomfort and very
embarrassing when I must scratch in public. These areas were not dry; but I sometimes greased
it with Vaseline. Sometimes before going to bed, I asked my husband to rub some Vaseline all
over my breast and nipples; guess what that meant? (LOL) But the itchiness continued. When
it came unbearable, I decided to schedule an annual physical with our doctor since my family
and I always have our annual physicals every January. I made a doctor’s appointment to have
my annual checkup for January 15th, 2001. During my examination, I complained bitterly
about the itchy breast and nipples. After the doctor’s examinations, she told me that
I needed to go do a biopsy. I asked, what that was and why? She replied, “we will discuss
more after the biopsy and please schedule an appointment to come with your spouse or
a family member” I guess she read the confusion on my face. At this point, I still didn’t get it.
I got home and told my husband what the doctor said. He replied, Okay, we will go and see her;
don’t worry about anything, it is just itching; we can go see a dermatologist.

On January 22, 2001, my life changed, when we went back to my doctor’s office for the result
of the biopsy. Our doctor came into the room without her usual smile on her face. Before she said
anything, I asked, what’s wrong doc.? She replied, I have good news and bad news? I replied,
tell me the bad news first! She said, you have been diagnosed with breast cancer; the good news,
it is stage one. I replied ignorantly, what’s breast cancer and how did I get it? She replied, let us
discuss the treatment; I need to send you to other doctors for more tests. At this point, I was
confused, and my husband looked very helpless and he said, Abeni, don’t worry; we are
going to be okay, I looked at him angrily and said, why we? Are you the one diagnosed with
breast cancer? He replied with parable, “I meant whatever happened to the eye; also happened
to the nose and all the face”

On February 9, 2001, I went into surgery to remove the lump while my husband waited in agony
in the waiting room for approximately 8 hours in Aurora, Colorado where we knew nobody. After
my surgery, I was recommended to receive 12 doses of Chemo. Before my chemo, I started googling,
researching and reading everything about breast cancer, chemo, and radiation. During my research,
I came across a Cancer Awareness organization called “Sisters to Sisters”. I called them and attended
their educational awareness class. During one of the educational awareness, we were told about
getting involved and getting other doctor’s opinions/recommendations before starting treatments.
I took that advice very seriously and scheduled with 3 different doctors to hear their recommendations
before I started receiving my chemo. I ended receiving only 6 Chemo instead of the 12 recommended
I learned that as a patient, you are the first advocate; get involved; ask questions, and don’t be afraid
to ask as many questions as possible evenly if it sounds stupid/ignorant to you or to anyone. It’s all
about the only one life that God give you! Surgeries, chemo, and radiation changes lives but also
sometimes leave you lifeless.

Thank God for the support of my husband, my children, my Church members in Colorado,
and Sisters to Sisters….an organization like African Women Cancer Awareness Association (AWCAA).
In September 2003, my family and I were transferred from Colorado to the state of Maryland
where I heard about and discovered AWCAA. I decided to join this incredible and very supportive
association that gives it all to humanity…AWCAA. My journey as a survivor and what AWCAA
stands for, is the main reason for my 100 percent commitment to AWCAA since 2004 till present.