I was awakened by excruciating muscle spasms in both thighs in the middle of the night. I attributed this pain to lack of electrolytes and immediately flushed myself with a few glasses of gatorade and water. The pain lasted most of the night and continued during the morning. By the afternoon my legs began to feel heavy and it was becoming harder for me to walk. I was admitted to the hospital later that evening with the diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdomyolysis is a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases a damaging protein into the blood. There are fewer than 200,000 cases a year. Blood test for my creatinine kinase was elevated which indicated muscle damage. I was referred to the myositis center at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore which revealed an underlying genetic auto immune myopathy/myositis. My textbook symptoms of swelling, pain, inflammation, muscle weakness were confirmed. After a muscle biopsy, blood test, and nerve studies I began a series of trial medications, some of which made me very ill. Muscle weakness prevented me from performing everyday tasks.
Fatigue, muscle weakness, pain was becoming normal for me until Prednisone was introduced to help my symptoms. It has been 4 years with my myositis and rhabdomyolysis and I am learning to manage my symptoms daily. Remission is my goal and comes and goes. With meds, rest, healthy eating I am alive.
I am a 7 years Breast Cancer survivor. While performing a self-breast examination, I found a lump in my breast. I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 39. The hardest part for me was to tell my son, who was 16 at the time, which I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Once my son learned of the diagnosis, I told myself that I was not going to let the Big C beat me. After all the consultations and surgeries, I knew that in order to overcome the illness I had to keep a positive attitude and stay away from all the negativism. My treatment consisted of 6 months of chemotherapy and 5 weeks of radiation therapy. Throughout the transition I kept the faith and never gave. My support team (my professional team of doctors, my family, my church family and close friends) was awesome. By the grace of God, my body was healed. I have been in remission for 4 years and I know there are many more years ahead.
Carlista B. Williams
SCARS AND ALL MY HUSBAND ACCEPTS ME AS I AM
I am 4 years cancer free, had stage 2 breast cancer with 2 lumpectomies. I was a divorcee & UADP provided financial assistance to go to my daily radiation treatments. Will forever be grateful and thankful.
I met a wonderful man who accepts me as I am scars & all. We got married a year ago and I'm a 61 year old newlywed “living my best life”. Our wedding theme was, " I love you just the way you are".
Giving God All the Glory!!!
A few months before my 50th birthday I realized I was going to have to deal with this continual bleeding challenge I was having.
We tried one procedure which worked for a minute the problem was my fibroid tumors were too big and when I would sleep at night they would press against my bladder so that kept me up every few hours going to the bathroom. So I decided to have my fibroid tumors removed I chose to wait till after my 50th birthday on the holidays January 24th was the date 2013 because my surgery consist of a complete hysterectomy.
Had my surgery while recovering different things started to happened that I didn’t quite understand. Muscle spasms that seem to take place at night I didn’t quite understand but I’m healing from my complete hysterectomy I guess I was starting to have the symptoms of Polymyositis. And no one seem to know what was going on about 3 months pass thank God for my neurologist.
The lab has become a second home I have been poked tested for everything they can think of and nobody could figure it out my neurologist called me my bad I had lost 70 pounds worth of muscle shuffling to walk. Malnourished barely taking care of myself I could barely stand why thank God for the strength because I refused to give up even when I was told that wheelchair and a convalescent home you look like my options all I could say was God forbid.
I remember going against what was said to do or not to do in order to survive.
I remember taking my physical therapy to the gym because hanging out at the physical therapy look more permanent gym, the gym look hopeful. I get in the pool and push myself no matter what I can make myself do what they said couldn’t do. I remember walking just a half of a block because I was too weak but I wanted to walk. I always wore my fitbit before my diagnosis and I always tried to reach my 10000 steps a day. Many times I would look up and sometimes I didn’t even reach 200 steps a day it was a challenge and some days it’s still a challenge.
Learning to live with Polymyositis was a big challenge for me and of course a change in my life style I think when I got over the shock and denial had to begin to learn how to live with the diagnosis.
Think one of the biggest challenges for me not being able to plan ahead and my family and friends not being able to understand that. Are the greatest part of this it’s giving me a lot of quiet time alone with my God.
Ta Tanisha Rogers - Breast Cancer
Karen Floyd - Breast Cancer
My Breast Cancer Journey
My name is Carlista B. Williams; I reside in Raeford North Carolina and I am a breast cancer survivor. I am going to share with you a portion of my journey from what I considered a normal life to being diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer.
September 2009 upon returning from a well-deserved eleven days of vacationing, several days of which, was spent at North Myrtle Beach. The quiet time alone, communing with God and nature was one of the most enjoyable times I had experienced in the past twenty years. Before returning to work it was requested that I return for a follow-up mammogram and ultra sound.
Results revealed a dime sized mass. I elected to have the excisional biopsy, which is a whole lesion removal along with surrounding normal tissue. November 9, 2009, I under-went two surgeries, one to remove the guide wire which was inserted prior to surgery to mark the mass. The wire became lodged in my chest muscle and had to be removed prior to removal of the mass.
Pathology report concluded the stage four “Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)” which refers to any breast cancer that does not express the genes for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) or Her2/negative and are known to be more aggressive (rapid growth and requiring more aggressive treatments ) along with prognosis. Triple negative breast cancers have a relapse pattern that is very different from hormone-positive breast cancers: the risk of relapse is much higher for the first 3-5 years. The mass was located at the base, 6 o’clock.
January 2, 2010, a third surgery was required for removal of additional tissue surrounding the mass along with 20 plus lymph nodes from the left arm, four of which were cancerous. Following intense research on my part, my team of doctors (Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center, Fayetteville North Carolina) and I made our best decision to commit to four months of chemotherapy (every 21 days) a cocktail of three of the most aggressive forms of chemotherapy available, followed by thirty-one days of radiation treatment.
I had the best support- team in the world; God, my pastor, family, super close friends and compassionate medical personnel, all of which were believers, full of faith, with my best interest at heart. My journey was extremely rough. Of course there were times when I was not certain that I could continue traveling the rough roads, climbing the steep hills or make it from one hour to the next. But God!! Often I had to re-visit the conversation I had with my Lord upon my diagnosis. I said to Him, “Lord since someone that I know has to have cancer, I am glad you allowed it to be me, someone else may not be able to make it. I am going to make it! I am going to live, so that I can declare your goodness, your kindness and new mercies you provide daily”. I always believed I could make it. So here I am today still standing, still trusting and still thanking God for His grace, His mercy, His compassion, His unfailing love and healing power that has brought me to this moment. Some call it remission, I call it my healing!
It all started for me 5 years ago at the age of 30. I was at the beginning of a good career, I was working in my field as a counselor at 2 mental health facilities and a part time job at a drug rehab for teenagers. I was young, having fun, working hard, and all of a sudden I couldn't move my legs. I couldn't walk! My whole body was achy, it was sore, I felt awful. I thought oh my I'm coming down with the flu. When the "flu" lasted over 2 weeks I knew that something was terribly wrong. I went to numerous doctors and I was finally diagnosed by the multiple sclerosis center of Atlanta, no one new what this was. It was new, I was told to take plaquenil and diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome. A year later I was suddenly unable to walk and had to be lifted and assisted to my car. Me being hard headed and strong willed drove 2 hours away to my mothers house. The next day I had to be assisted and use a cane to walk. The following week I was diagnosed with Polymyositis. My ck levels went through the roof. The doctors wondered how I had energy to get out of bed and go to work. I was sick! I immediately had to take a leave from work which ended up being a 3 year leave. I was sick, I wanted to deny it! My whole life was taken from me. I had to move back to my hometown and live with my mother so I could be with family and have the help I needed. I endured months of physical therapy. I refused to let Polymyositis still my life, my joy, and my happiness. I have fought with every ounce within me. I am happy to say that I now have a 10 month old that nearly takes every "spoon" that I have. The spoon theory is alive and well in my life. Although I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. My baby is my world. I thank God for him. I thank God for helping me to fight this disease everyday. Being so tired and so fatigued and refusing to give up and give in. I will continue to fight Polymyositis and I will continue to win. I will continue to take my daily rounds of medication. The prednisone that I hate, that makes me an unhealthy weight is my life saver. I will continue to take it along with all my medications so I can continue to live and fight this disease. I smile through the hurt, I fight through the tears because I know my God is not finished with me. I also know that He will heal my body and that one day we will find a cure. Keep fighting myositis warriors because I will!
Testimony for Chonthini Lee for Polymyositis
Theme Photo Credit - Author Unknown
Andreca Burton Testimony - Polymyositis
This is why I trust him! Prayer and faith work. Not only did I have breast cancer and am still undergoing chemotherapy, the enemy tried to attack my faith by a report showing in May that I now had nodules on my lungs. I had a cough that was so severe that my family was concerned and I had many sleepless nights waking up coughing. It had gotten so bad that I went to a pulmonary specialist to see what was wrong. After being misdiagnosed about my breast cancer and finding the lump myself, I took action to make sure that I didn't have pneumonia. The specialist ordered a breathing test. I haven't seen him as of yet but since my PET/CT SCAN yesterday, I am healed by the blood of JESUS!!! HE IS MY DOCTOR, PROVIDER, COMFORTER, FATHER, SURGEON× EVERYTHING AND I GIVE HIM ALL OF THE GLORYYYYYY. THERE IS NO ONE ON EARTH LIKE MY CREATOR! HE CAN AND IS MY EVERYTHING! I WILL CONTINUE TO WALK BEHIND HIS GUIDANCE. HE WILL CONTINUE TO BE MY SHADOW! THANK YOU JESUS!!! Monday I get my next to last chemotherapy treatment and then on to radiation. Moral of this story.. @bishopjakes @cjakescoleman
I AM A WITNESS THAT FAITH MOVES MOUNTAINS AND GOD ANSWERS PRAYER. #beyourownadvocateforcancer