Yesterday was a long and tiring day. I had back to back appointments with the breast surgeon and oncologist. Way too much information to process in one day. I need a day or two before I can talk about those appointments. I have another doctor appointment today with my primary care physician. So, I thought today would be a good day to introduce you to my “Team.” My medical team pictured above are: on the left is Dr. Jose Mendoza, Oncologist/Hematologist, the beautiful woman standing next to me in the top picture on the right is Dr. Regina Hampton, my breast surgeon, and last, but surely not least, on the bottom right is Dr. Waseem Hussain, my Primary Care Physician. I cannot say enough about this team of medical professionals God hand-picked to care for me during this journey. I cannot say enough about their superior bed-side manner, knowledge, and ability to explain things in “plain” language that I can understand.
My visits with Dr. Hampton are more like sit-down conversations with one of your best girlfriends and the subject of the day just happens to be breast cancer and the surgical options available. She is compassionate, encouraging, supportive, and has a laugh that makes you laugh with her.
Dr. Mendoza and I are old friends so to speak. Since he specializes in both oncology and hematology I saw him several times six years ago when I had the stroke. At that time his job was to try to figure out if I had a blood disorder that may have caused or contributed to the stroke. I remember how thorough he was, because he refused to believe that at age 40 the stroke I had was just some strange anomaly that occurred for no reason. So, I was already very familiar with his determination to leave no stone unturned until he is satisfied with what he discovers. He shows genuine concern and kindness, talks to me not at me and just overall has a very comforting spirit. When I saw him yesterday for the first time since the stroke he said, “It is so nice to see you again, but I was really hoping I would never see you again. And especially not for this.”
I don’t think I have the words to adequately describe Dr. Hussain. He has been my primary care physician for almost ten years. He is by far the BEST doctor I have ever seen. He is knowledgeable about everything imaginable, he is personable, thorough and when you are in his office he spends as much time as you need with him. He is soft spoken and his voice alone is comforting. He has been my primary caregiver through sicknesses, surgeries, the stroke, and I am so thankful he is still on my team during this breast cancer journey. When I saw him in his office the day he got the biopsy results he came in the room, sat down, and said, “Well, we received the results we didn’t want to get.” He thoroughly explained what the next steps would be, held my hand, gave me a tissue, and said, “Everything is going to be ok, Lisa. You can and will beat this. The road may be pretty rough, but you will recover, live a long life, and be here to see even more grandchildren born.” THAT’s the kind of doctor he is! I absolutely love him!
I am blessed to be a part of a BIG, loud, loving, supportive family. My family loves HARD and STRONG. If I had to try to describe the kind of family we are all I could come up with is a black (or African American if that is the better way to say black) version of the family depicted in the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” We are them to the tenth power! My family is a family full of what I call “people collectors”. Meaning, once you have come to a family function, have dated, been married to or divorced from anyone in my family you are a lifetime family member and can expect to still be invited to family functions and remain informed of all the news that travels through the family grapevine. Technology being what it is, my wonderful nephew/son started a family group chat on Group Me that many of us are a part of. There are days that if I do not look at the family group chat for just an hour I return to see 50 messages to be read. I think the all time high I missed in one day was 72. That is who we are. I said all of that to say, in my family if I have breast cancer then EVERYBODY has breast cancer! So, collectively they make up the largest part of my team.
There are a few family members I want to mention by name and face: Pictured below from top to bottom on the left: My mom, Rev. Susie Taylor (holding my grandson, Logan), my older sister, Leslie, my younger sister, LaShawn (also holding Logan – he’s 13 months now). From top to bottom on the right my gorgeous daughters: my oldest, Ashley, in the middle (like me, and she looks the most like me) LiAnne, and my “baby,” Jasmine. This core group of ladies, along with four prayer warrior friends God has blessed me with, are the ones who see or hear from me on my good days, not so good days, and all the days in between. They pray for and with me, they listen to me vent, they comfort and encourage me. But, I must say more than anyone else I can’t say enough about my beautiful daughters. They journeyed with me day in and day out during the stroke recovery years and they have jumped on the breast cancer train with me with such grace, love, and compassionate care. They are exceptional young women. My Ashley has decided she is going to ask to be put under general anesthesia with me on surgery day so she can be wheeled in with me and hold my hand during the procedure (that is just how she is). LiAnne is in the fitness and wellness field. She is in excellent shape and very disciplined. She will be the one to help me stay on track with my physical fitness. Jasmine is in the science field and has an extraordinary ability to explain the most complex scientific information or math in a way anyone could understand. She is definitely my ace in the hole with all of the medical stuff. And if you are reading and intend to follow this blog then you are a part of my team too. You are family. I have already been so blessed by the many words of encouragement and prayers. I do not take prayer lightly and am truly grateful for each person that remembers me when they call out to God in prayer. So, for today I’m just thankful for my team, and that Jesus is the Captain! Because of Him, I know as a team we have already won, because our opponent was defeated over 2,000 years ago. My body just has to catch up to what I already know to be truth!