Happy 80th Birthday to my Uncle Alton Cartwright. Pictured with him during a recent birthday celebration at First Christian Church is his granddaughter, Zoey Grissom.
It can creep in like a thief in the night. The pain it inflicts can commence with very little warning.
I'm talking about Breast Cancer.
The disease will statistically affect every family at some point. It's been creeping around my family over the years.
I've been told my paternal great uncles died from breast cancer, but that was long ago. They did not know, especially in men, much about the disease then.
I'm so glad to say that other family members who've been diagnosed are now cancer-free.
One of my maternal aunts, paternal grandmother and a paternal side female cousin all survived to tell their amazing journey of pink.
There are a lot of breast cancer survivors in Bedford County. I'm enjoying meeting local residents and talking and writing about their experiences.
You will certainly want to catch our “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” section in Saturday's edition of the Times-Gazette. It's printed with pink, which is our way of showing our care and concern for those suffering and or recovering from this disease.
I will say this year, I met a most amazing lady, Nicole Walsh, during my interviews for the section. She certainly is a survivor, but also really an amazing person to boot.
As for my family of cancer survivors, my now dear departed paternal grandmother, who lived to be 97, recovered from her mastectomy 30 years ago. Today, she certainly is no longer in pain.
My first cousin, Tina Miller Hutchens, recently finished her last dose of the post surgery drug Tamoxifen. Praise Jesus!
Tina gave me permission to print some of what she recently put on Facebook. I suspect she'll write a book someday, or perhaps, I'll write it for her.
Tina notes, “I took my last pill of Tamoxifen. I can't tell you how relieved I am. The side effects have been horrible. From lethargy to hot flashes to aches/pains that are unexplained, I'm ready to feel like myself again.”
Tina notes that she saw her oncologist a few weeks ago. She said he now proudly considers himself “fired.”
“I'm officially 5 years cancer-free!” she exclaims.
Tina had her first mammogram in 2014. She learned micro calcification was present; she would need a biopsy, the doctor advised.
My cuz would eventually be diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS.) It's amazing to me how many women in their 40s are being diagnosed DCIS, which can come in various stages.
Tina of course had a long road ahead of her with surgery and treatment. She opted for a lumpectomy and would have 21 treatments.
But now it's over. And Tina counts her blessings.
She posts, “Thank you to my family and friends that helped me through this journey, but most of all, thank you to God for carrying me along the way!”
Only those who really know Tina realize how tough her life really has been over the last five years. In addition to her cancer scare, she lost suddenly her father and her youngest brother and after an extended illness, our grandmother-all within just the last two years.
In the midst of a great deal of strife, she continues to be a loving mother to a sweet little boy named Quinn, whom she and her husband, Rob, adopted from China a few years ago.
I share Tina's story in hopes that anyone going through breast cancer or even another type of stress in their life, will realize there is always hope to which we can cling. To me, the smile Tina still expresses is that of a truly Godly woman who held tight to her faith along the way.
I love you Tina! Thanks for allowing me to share your story. God bless you on your cancer-free journey. As they say, the best is yet to come.
Skipping over to my weekend picks, let's stop over at the Halls Mill Sorghum Squeeze going on all day Saturday at the Triangle Club. If you love molasses, this is certainly your event.
It's a sweet treat, and looks like this weekend, minus the sun's heat.
Speaking of molasses, I'm one of the odd birds who believes a dose of organic black strap molasses is healthy. Black strap is extremely high in iron and magnesium.
Sorghum syrup is darker than honey, with a flavor that is deeper, like caramel with notes of vanilla, coffee and leather. It's not as bitter as blackstrap molasses, a by-product of making crystallized cane sugar, that's often plagued by a burnt tar aftertaste.
I admit the taste is how should I say, nasty! Nope. You don't get use to it.
But then you know, what tastes delicious is usually bad for you. Food for thought.
Rest assured, the Sorghum Squeeze at Halls Mill is going to be a sweet treat to watch. There's nothing better than butter and sweet sorghum molasses on a biscuit! Yum!
My other weekend pick is all about pet safety and health. My friends at Middle Tennessee Spay and Neuter Clinic on Union Street are conducting a rabies clinic. There's also a yard sale to support the clinic. Check it out as well!
I'm indulging in the “pumpkin” products available right now. Speaking of sweet fall treats, join me in the delicious delights of October during the T-G's annual Open House 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Until then, I've got a cupful of Friday sunshine ready to warm your soul (not that we need that around here right now as far as temperatures go.) But as you go through life, try new things.
In the words of Garth Brooks, “Life is not tried it is merely survived when you're standing outside the fire.”