Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 15th 2014 Contents A29
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October is Breast Cancer Pre-
vention month and the emphasis
is on getting women to get tested
early. One of the champions for
Breast Cancer Awareness is singer
and broadcaster Marcia Miranda
who is marking her tenth year as
a cancer survivor. She spoke to
BOBIE-LEE DIXON about her battle
with cancer and how she s working
with the Cancer Society of T&T
to spread the message of early test-
Singer and broadcaster Marcia
Miranda s story has been told before,
but she feels she can t talk about it
enough, because she wants to
empower and possibly even help
save the lives of women who have
been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Ten years after her journey, she
is stronger and more positive than
ever. And this positive attitude was
evident when the T&T Guardian
visited the singer/songwriter at her
In 1994, Miranda discovered a
small lump in her left breast which
at the time turned out to be benign.
Ten years later the lump had grown
and she began experiencing pains
in the breast and in her armpit.
Concerned, she visited a doctor, had
a needle biopsy done, followed by
a mammogram. She was diagnosed
as having stage 3B breast cancer,
which meant the cancer had extend-
ed to beyond the immediate region
of the tumor and may have invaded
nearby lymph nodes and muscles,
causing the pain in her armpit.
"I always knew about the impor-
tance of getting breast examinations
for breast cancer. But when you are
young, of course you don t focus
too much on it. Like most, I used
to think, that could not happen to
me. I exercised, I ate well, so it could
not happen to me," she said.
But when Miranda began having
pains, she did suspect something
might have been wrong and began
preparing herself mentally and emo-
tionally for the news, even before
she was diagnosed.
"I prayed and asked God for dis-
cernment and for strength because
I had the strongest feeling that I
had a journey ahead."
And true to her intuition, some-
thing was wrong. "...The reception-
ist in the lab who was very bubbly
when we first met, was not herself
when she handed over my results.
Her body language told me some-
thing was wrong. And right away
I told myself, yes Marcia you have
With this in mind, Miranda took
the envelope, ran out and stood on
"As I opened it the first thing I
saw was malignant, " she said. "Of
course fear was the first feeling,
because you don t know what s
going to happen to you, what this
is going to do to your body or if it s
going to kill you. So you really have
to come to terms with the fact that
you really do not know anything
about it so you now have to place
your life in hands of someone else."
She chose the hands of God.
Miranda said she told God she
wanted to live and asked Him for
extended time to get a chance to
find and live her true purpose.
Having support is important
The first person Miranda told
about the results was her sister Mar-
Miranda s first words to her sister
were: "Maggie I don t want you to
break down, I need you to be
Her sister began to cry, but even
then an optimistic Miranda
remained strong and assured her
sister that she was not going to lose
One day at a time, along with her
family, Miranda began her steps
towards healing. With the tumour
now measuring three centimeters
in size, her doctor advised the first
thing she needed to have was sur-
"I had to decide whether to do
a mastectomy or a lumpectomy.
This was my biggest issue for the
first couple of weeks and then my
second was finding the money.
Because it was $30,000 for the sur-
gery at that time."
Still indecisive the day before her
surgery, Miranda said she asked her
doctor for guidance.
"I said to him, doctor, when we
go into that theatre tomorrow, I
want you to look at me and imagine
I am your wife, your mother, your
daughter or your sister and make a
decision on what s best for some-
body you truly love and care about.
"I told him I needed to just do
what was best for me at that time.
Yes I am an entertainer and I would
rather not lose my breast, but if that
is what it came down to for me to
save my life then so be it," she said.
After the surgery, she was covered
in bandages and swore she lost her
breast, but to her surprise it was
"My sister was there throughout
the entire surgery and when I turned
and looked at her, she said to me,
you are ok, you still have your boob,"
Miranda said with a chuckle.
During the surgery, lymph nodes
were also removed for testing to see
if the cancer had spread to Miranda s
lymph system. Unfortunately the
cancer spread and the next step was
Under the supervision of Dr Peter
Bovell at the National Radiation
Centre, Miranda completed six
cycles of chemotherapy, while also
on oral medication---cocktails---
which were quite expensive. One
cocktail alone cost about $14,000.
To take care of her medical bills,
Miranda s family and friends held
some fundraising activities.
"I did a boat ride and all my
entertainer friends came together
and we did a concert and that is
how I was also able to save my life
too, because had it not been for
them, where was I going to find all
this money for my treatment?"
CONTINUES ON PAGE A30
A radio DJ who took part in a hoax call
after which a nurse killed herself has told
of her own fears after receiving death
threats and bullets in the post.
Mel Greig said: "I was in lockdown for
months. There were bullets with our name
on it sent to police stations."
She told the BBC that at one point
someone had rung her mother and said
"eye for an eye, you deserve to die".
Jacintha Saldanha died in 2012, after
the hoax call to a London hospital treating
the Duchess of Cambridge.
Greig and colleague Michael Christian
made their prank call to King Edward VII's
Hospital in December 2012.
The Sydney-based Australians pre-
tended to be the Queen and Prince Charles
asking about the duchess's treatment for
severe morning sickness.
Saldanha, 46, answered the call and
transferred it to a colleague, who gave de-
tails of the duchess's condition.
Saldanha was found hanged three days
In her first UK broadcast interview, Ms
Greig told Newsnight on Monday that she
will always feel at fault to an extent"
about her death.
"I was mentioned in Jacintha's suicide
note---not the Australian DJ, my name,"
Greig quit at the end of last year. (BBC)
Royal hoax DJ tells of death threats
Accentuating the positive
Marcia Miranda performing one of her parang hits.
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