Using My Experience to Educate Others

Experience to Educate Others
Experience to Educate Others

My name is Latonya, I'm a native of Sumter, SC, and a veteran of the United States Army. In 2006, I separated from the Army and started my career as a government contractor working overseas in Afghanistan.

In December of 2007, at the age of 32, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2013, I was diagnosed again and had a double mastectomy. In 2016, I was diagnosed with ER/PR+, HER2- metastatic breast cancer (mBC).

I was educated on breast cancer health, but stage IV was a different beast. I thought my life would be over in 6 months. When I spoke with my doctor she stated that I would have to go through treatments for the rest of my life, but that some people do last years with stage IV. I was determined to live. In 2017, I had a hysterectomy to stop my ovaries from producing any more hormones. By December 2017, I had no cancer activity, but in March 2018 everything returned. I've tried various treatments, and my most recent one has been good.

I try my best to not think about death. I believe a great, positive attitude is what helps maintain my life span. I stay away from negativity and just enjoy life with my family, friends, and my wonderful fiancé. I have never created as many memories in my life as I am now. And I'm still here. We all have to leave this earth one day, but it's what you do while you are here. I volunteer with the MBC Project. I am a state leader for Young Survival Coalition, and I travel and speak on the disparities between the African American community and the medical field. While I'm alive I will continue to fight for a change and help educate my community.