Faustina Edomwonyi just wants to get on with life.
Faustina was in and out of an abusive relationship for years, and it took a toll on her health. “I think the stress caused my cells to mutate,” she says. “It became so bad that I had chills at night and headaches in the morning.” She insisted on a mammogram, even though her routine mammogram just 12 months earlier was clear. A biopsy followed; Faustina had breast cancer.
“I was in school when they told me,” she recalls. “It was a shock. I left everything and went home.”
There, she put on a strong face for her sons, who are 15 and 10. Isolated by her abuser, “I was on my own. I didn’t know anybody.” When a Jehovah’s witness knocked on her door, Faustina asked for a ride to the hospital for surgery. (Since then, other volunteers have helped with rides.)
Despite transportation troubles and debilitating chemo side effects, Faustina keeps up with work as a home health aide, and with school as she studies to become an RN. (In her native UK, Faustina trained as a psychiatric nurse.)
“I want to raise my sons to see me getting by every day – to keep going, and know you’ll make it through,” she says. “Positive attitude gives me strength.”
Faustina’s son helps with her injections and medications at home; she brought both sons to a chemo session “to show them it wasn’t a sad or emotional thing. I try to have a good laugh with my boys every day, and that keeps us going.”
She deeply appreciates the care she gets from the Breast Care Center and Cancer Care & Infusion Center: “I couldn’t think of a better place for this treatment.”
Her advice for patients facing cancer: “If you don't have help, don't let it make you feel bad and alone, because you are not. Let your treatment team know.”Faustina’s advice to other moms? “You need to just find the strength, for your children’s sake. You are the pillar of your family. When you find strength in yourself, other people will see that and step up to help.”