Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 29th 2017 Contents KALIFA CLYNE
Five hundred and
twenty- ive thousand,
six hundred minutes.
That's the measurement
for a year of life. For
Peg y Mitchell, one
year meant being diagnosed with
stage two breast cancer, having
surgery to remove cancerous
cells and being successfully
treated for the disease.
Mitchell, who turned 64 last
week, is a retired laboratory
technician who used to work
at the Ministry of Health. For
over ten years she has done
yearly mammograms and health
pro iles to monitor her body.
"I started doing mammograms
in my 50s because I kept hearing
of a lot of people getting cancer.
People I knew or who my friends
and family knew," Mitchell
said in an interview with the
Guardian on Sunday.
In January 2016, the time
Mitchell usually did her routine
tests, she decided that in
addition to the mammogram,
she would do a tumour marker,
which is a diagnostic test for
The igures on the tumour
marker was a little more elevated
than it should have been so
doctors advised her to do an
In March, after returning home
from the United States, Mitchell,
whose husband had done
research and found Pink Hibiscus
Breast Health Specialists,
made an appointment to do an
"The initial test looked okay
but they did another test and
felt something on the side and
advised that I do a biopsy.
Even then, it didn't seem like
something to worry about,
everything looked normal except
for a slight change."
When Mitchell did the
biopsy, she was told there were
malignant cancer cells in the
tissue of her breast.
"I got the diagnosis and
because of my relationship with
the Lord, I didn't take it hard. I
always wondered how I would
feel with that diagnosis but I was
neutral and I said: 'Lord, there is
purpose in this thing, just show
me. Help me to go through it.' "
Her sense of calm on hearing
the news, helped Mitchell to
make some dif icult decisions
She asked her doctor for her
options for treatment and was
told she would need to do a
lumpectomy to remove the tissue
from her breast.
"I asked how quickly I could
Within two weeks, Mitchell
was on an operating table.
"I remember we had a family
vacation in May and I kept
thinking I have to do this surgery
"I asked the doctor to organise
it as soon as possible. I did
my pre-ops, CT Scans, MRIs
and blood tests and went to
WestShore and the surgery was
done on March 15. I knew the
Lord would help me, He gave me
peace with it so the journey was
Mitchell said her family was a
praying and god-fearing one and
credits her family's support and
God for making a big difference
with the experience.
"God gave me peace, grace,
and favour as He worked out
every detail beautifully."
After surgery, Mitchell went to
the US to do radiation therapy at
Stony Brook University Hospital
where her sister worked.
"My sister was a source of
comfort to me; she is a nurse
in the patient's advocacy
department and every day as I
went for radiation I would pass
in her of ice to chat and after
treatment sometimes we would
go in the huge cafeteria for
After six weeks of radiation,
having already been told
she would not have to do
chemotherapy, Mitchell went on
vacation with her family.
"My husband had to come
back to Trinidad to work while I
was doing the radiation. I never
felt I was sick. Everything went
well. While I was doing it we
would go driving on weekend,
I walked across the Brooklyn
bridge. Because I didn't have to
do the chemo, the experience
wasn't bad for me."
Mitchell said she was now
an advocate for women getting
"I remember battling with
fear to ind out but I knew it
was better I found out early.
When you wait too long and
get stage three or four it is so
terrible. I knew that sometimes a
mammogram wasn't enough. If
I hadn't done the cancer marker
I don't know if I would be in the
"I would recommend that
every woman gets tested because
early detection is what saves
your life. It doesn't have to be a
death sentence if you get it early.
I know it isn't a nice thing to deal
with, people younger than me as
One year later, tests show no
evidence of disease in Mitchell's
"I checked at Pink Hibiscus
and they did an ultrasound and I
believe I'm healed. Thank God. I
claim my healing every day.
"I now live a life of
thankfulness and gratitude to
God, my family and friends. I am
also more aware of taking care
of my body...eating wholesome
food, walking and keeping all my
Sunday, October 29, 2017
Breast cancer survivor:
I claimed my
healing Peggy Mitchell in Montreal Canada outside the Olympic Village post radiation.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness
Month. The month is used as
an annual international health
campaign to increase awareness of
the disease and to raise funds for
research into its cause, prevention,
diagnosis, treatment and cure. The
campaign also offers information
and support to those affected by
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