Tricia Dempsey

This year I wanted to write my story from a different perspective…the source of my strength. 

“It takes a village.” 

Everyone has heard that quote but when you face breast cancer at the age of 32, you come to really understand what this means.  After two false negative mammograms and ultrasounds, I was sure that my visit would re-confirm the first two results.  Unfortunately, they did not.  After I received my biopsy results it was confirmed, I had breast cancer.

During the next 18 months that followed, there were a few key sources of strength that helped me personally overcome cancer:

1.        My friends – I had just moved into Chestatee and built my dream house when I was diagnosed.  As a matter of fact, I learned I had cancer the night before closing.  Being new to the neighborhood, I had not formed any close bonds yet, but to my surprise, friends emerged with kind words, offers to babysit, meals, helping decorate my Christmas tree, and many other small acts of kindness.  These people were not family…they had no obligation…but they were my village.  Thank you…Tracey and Lance Eagle, Cindy and Todd Tomlin and Randy and Sue Wells. 

2.       My family – From the minute I was diagnosed, my parent sprung into action.  The plan was to stay in our guest room from Thursday through Sunday on the weeks of chemo.  My mom would wash clothes, make meals, bath Catherine.  My dad would run errands, stock the fridge and keep my husband company.  My sisters and brothers would rotate chemo visits with me.  My grandmother would send a card each week with an encouraging message that she was thinking of me.  Considering she was 1000 miles away, but to know she was thinking of me and praying for me everyday really touched my heart.  

3.       My faith – I knew from the day I was diagnosed that God had a plan and more importantly, I knew I would not die of breast cancer.  After the initial shock of my diagnosis, I never let my mind dwell in that possibility.  So much of my personal testimony in life has to do with being diagnosed with breast cancer.  It strengthened my faith, helped me to put my trust in Him and ultimately, changed my life path to where I am today. 

I would encourage anyone who knows of someone battling disease or sickness who says to themselves, “I just don’t know what to say or do,” DO SOMETHING.  Send an email, write a handwritten note, add them to a prayer chain at your church, wash their clothes, babysit their kids, give them a date night with their spouse, make a meal.  All of these little acts of kindness are cumulatively someone’s source of strength.  Remember…it takes a village!