A family history of breast cancer
For Tamika, fear was the worst part of cancer. Her mother had breast cancer and a mastectomy. Her sister also had breast cancer but decided against chemotherapy or radiation. By the time she changed her mind and wanted treatment, there was nothing doctors could do, says Tamika.
When Tamika learned that her mother, who lives in Memphis, had cancer again, she wanted to care for her. Instead, she sent her daughter and made video calls while continuing her own treatment in Detroit.
“I did the last radiation treatments by myself, but I still had the staff at Henry Ford. They made sure I didn’t feel like I was alone,” says Tamika. “They were right there as if they were family.”
Her friends also helped. “They kept me normal. Everything we talked about was not cancer,” she says.
“My son, daughter, and daughter-in law never let me down. We’ve had our moments, but we didn’t let the cancer consume us. They’d tell me to say I was going to beat cancer — and keep saying it.”
“Between my kids and my two grandkids, I had no other choice but to get through this. They need to remember their grandmom,” says Tamika.
These days, Tamika is promoting early detection of cancer. “I’ve been yelling, screaming, and shouting for women to get a mammogram and ultrasound if possible,” she says. “The earlier you detect it, the better you are.”
Next on Tamika’s agenda? Be with the grandkids. Enjoy life. And even do something extra — she’s working to help to create housing for homeless veterans.