Faces of survival: Carolyn Byrd

Faces of survival
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
"My focus in life had changed. Things you thought were important aren't important." "It was my faith in God that got me through." Carolyn Byrd

Her background


AGE: 49

FAMILY: Husband Charles; daughter Getina Cato, 27; sons C.J., 23, and Rashad, 12; one granddaughter

OCCUPATION: Registered nurse

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT: October 2009; lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation


Byrd first dismissed the lump she found during a routine self-exam, thinking it was caused by fibrocystic breast disease. When it didn't go away, she was shocked to learn she had breast cancer.

"I wasn't upset that I had cancer. I was upset that I had to tell my children and my family," she said. "I didn't want them to worry about me."

Shortly after her diagnosis, a co-worker also was diagnosed with breast cancer. Byrd shared her experiences with her co-worker and said she hopes others can find comfort in her story.

"Each day is a gift," she said. "Live each day to the fullest."


"Keep the faith," she said. "Be strong. Don't give up. Always have hope that you're going to be OK. If you don't already have that walk with the Lord, you need to have that walk. You need to put your faith in God."