Imagine receiving the news that you have cancer just three months after being cleared at your yearly checkup. At the same time, you hear that your mother will be fighting cancer with you for her second time.
That's the news Kim Brayboy heard in September. Now, she is concluding her fight and helping her mother get through hers, and she has not let any of it get her down.
Last year Brayboy went to her routine checkup, and received her mammogram and exam from her doctors. She was cleared and feeling positive.
Three months later, in September, she got the idea to do a self-exam and found a lump in her breast. Shortly after, she heard she had stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 47.
In December, Brayboy received a single mastectomy, and in April, she finished four rounds of chemotherapy. She is now going through periodic checkups to make sure cancer doesn't return. Brayboy is also waiting for breast reconstruction, which will be sometime next month.
After hearing the news that she was diagnosed with cancer and that her mother was diagnosed for the second time, Brayboy was shocked but focused on helping her mom get through the battle.
"Once I got my head around it, I guess I came to accept it and developed an attack sort of mentality," Brayboy said. "I was just going to do what I needed to do and get through what I needed to get through, and I wasn't going to complain."
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She has stayed positive for not only her but also her mom. Brayboy shared that she has helped her mom troubleshoot side effects of medication and chemo as well as relate to someone who is going through the same thing.
"It's been my own focus to stay as positive as I could, and now, I'm trying to help where I can encourage her and help when I can and help her feel positive," Brayboy said. "We're just trying to help her regain her strength and stay focused on her fight."
For herself, Brayboy said she has been focusing on staying positive, doing what she can and not worrying about if cancer will come back. She's also more focused on living in the present than she used to.
"It changed my perspective," she said. "What this has done, it's not been all bad, and that's one of the positives I see. It's helping me stay more positive and know how important just your own thinking can be, how powerful it can be to think positively."
Throughout her experience and battle with cancer, Brayboy said one of her most helpful moments was receiving a wig from the American Cancer Society before she lost most of her hair.
"It helped me so much being able to just get that wig before my hair my fell out through the American Cancer Society," Brayboy said. "I have a different view on the Relay for Life, American Cancer Society now having been on this side of it, just being able to experience what they do and what the money goes toward."
Brayboy continued to explain that she actually had fun going to the American Cancer Society and trying on different wigs.
She also explained the importance of the society, relay and the money that is raised. Brayboy said the American Cancer Society has a hotel in Nashville that cancer patients getting chemo at Vanderbilt University Medical Center can stay free and it is covered by the society.
She also explained that the society gives cancer patients goodie bags with gifts and a large amount of information to help them or others who may be going through the same fight.
Brayboy said everything the society does is very important to cancer patients and the money the relay raises helps them help cancer patients.
"Go ahead and donate," Brayboy said. "They really do a lot of practical things to help people with cancer. They do a whole, whole lot. They have helped me and helped my mother the same way."
She shared that she plans on donating money to the society herself and encourages everyone to donate.
Reach Avery Seeger at 270-887-3236 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AveryNewEra