Faces of Survival: Michelle Derrick

Michelle Derrick found peace during one of the biggest storms in her life.

 

“I’m a totally different person now,” said Derrick, who went through a mental transformation after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2013.

“Fear/worry used to be the number one emotion I felt when things would happen.”

For some people, the mere mention of the word “cancer” brings fear, and when she was diagnosed, she was afraid.

“I can honestly say I was up and down,” she said.

But going through cancer taught her several things, including how to live and appreciate her life. She also found a deeper faith in God than she had before, and she said it was faith that brought her through it. She also learned to appreciate the relationships in her family more and not take things for granted.

She had a mastectomy, but there were complications with reconstruction surgery requiring several hospitalizations. With no chemotherapy or radiation, she was deemed cancer-free and spent more than two years without any signs of it in her body until a recent routine check-up. She was in the doctor’s office when she felt something strange, but when the doctor confirmed it was a second recurrence of cancer, that familiar feeling of fear was far away from her.

“I’m better prepared this time,” she said. “It’s the strangest thing. I have no fear. I haven’t had any fear whatever.”

She said she’s ready to face what’s ahead of her. “A lot of women go through it more than once,” she said.

This time, there are two cancerous lumps on the same side as the first cancer; however, this form of cancer is different from what she was diagnosed with four years ago. These are fed by estrogen, and her doctor is recommending a hysterectomy, removal of the lumps and medications. Derrick said her doctor wants to starve the estrogen-fed tumors to death and so far, it’s been working. Recent scans show one tumor has shrunk and the other hasn’t grown.

And the best thing Derrick said for her to do while her doctors starve the tumor is to starve any fear from her mind and not allow fear to influence her.

“God took care of me once. He will do it again,” she said.

Upcoming events

“Cut for a Cure”: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 14, Jamie’s Beauty Shop, 5114 Wrightsboro Road, Suite C, Grovetown; proceeds of haircuts benefit women The Lydia Project serves.

The Lydia House, 1369 Interstate Pkwy., events:

Ribbons of Hope: 10 a.m. Oct. 14, support event for women with cancer; Naomi Williams with Georgia Cancer Center to present “Breathe, Just Breathe;” (706) 736-5467.

Sew Much Talent Sewing Group: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Oct. 14, sew Lydia totes for cancer survivors; bring your sewing machine; (706) 736-5467.

New Volunteer Orientation: 10:30 a.m. Oct. 14, and 12:30 p.m. Oct. 19, find volunteer opportunities.

Look Good Feel Better: 1-3 p.m. Oct. 16, beauty professionals help cancer survivors with skin care, makeup, wig selection, more; register at (800) 227-2345.

Prayer Group: 9:30 a.m. Thursdays, pray for women and girls referred during the week; complete the volunteer application at thelydiaproject.org,

 

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