Have you or someone you know ever received a cancer diagnosis? Without a doubt, it is the scariest and most nerve-racking thing you could hear. Founder and CEO, Monette Brown was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in August 2013 and had a Bone Marrow Transplant in November 2013.
Here’s her story…
“I remember when I received my diagnosis, I was stunned. I really didn’t know how to react and I couldn’t react because I was hearing the news while I was at my son’s 2nd grade school orientation- 3 days before school started. The first thing that came to mind was, “I can’t die now… I have kids”. The second thought was, “I didn’t want to lose my job”. I had just been promoted and relocated to Birmingham, Alabama 6 months prior. I felt like I was in a ‘Lose Lose’ situation. Eventually, the shock wore off and the only thing that consumed my mind was how my body physically felt and that my life was forever changed. I felt horrible, I lost all my hair, I felt like I was losing my identity. And, I absolutely hated that my kids had to see me sick. Not to mention… I was scared. Everything was happening so fast and I had no clue what to expect. These thoughts brought on a host of emotions that were as equally draining as the impact of chemo treatments and the fact that I was now taking 8 to 10 pills twice a day. I began to have anxiety issues. I was restless all the time. Some days I was too weak to do anything, including getting out of bed and eating. And I found myself being doped up on pain medications that would put me to sleep-and at times I hated that too. It was just hard to face what my short term life was becoming.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night because my feet and hands were burning- this was a side effect of the chemo. I woke up and started begging for someone that was in my house to just rub them to make it stop. It just so happened that my entire family was there… so my sister and 6ft 4 uncle did just that. They massaged my hands and my feet until I said stop. It was the greatest feeling… my body went into this peaceful state. I could relax- because something/someone was making me feel better. My mind could relax. For that moment, I didn’t think about anything. I just felt good. It was after that moment when I knew- that once I was healed… I needed to find a way to provide this type of support for other patients. I knew there was a need, because every Dr. visit, myself and other patients would discuss the same ailments and side effects while waiting to see our Doctors. I was not the only person experiencing this. So—I prayed that if it had to be me to go through this traumatic experience, that [He] would use me to inspire others. Many of my friends sent me Care Packages and each time one arrived, it put a smile on my face. It reminded me that someone cares and someone was thinking about me. That was the moment I decided to be BRAVE. That was the moment I decided to EMBRACE my situation. And, That was the moment I decided to CARRY ON.