How did you first find out you had cancer?
I remember July 2007 lying in bed with my arm lifted and my husband asked ‘What is that sticking out from your breast?’ And I said ‘where?’ So I jumped up from bed and ran to the bathroom mirror to check it out. I anxiously waited on the next morning so I could call my doctor and get an appointment. I got an appt in two days, had a biopsy, a mammogram, etc to test the lump and the radiologist confirmed that yes the lump that was found in my breast was malignant.
How did you react when you heard the news?
Well hearing the words ‘Mrs. McCaskill it is malignant’ are not the easiest words to hear. I was shocked, I was in disbelief, and I wanted a second opinion and everything. I went numb, there is really no description to the feeling that I felt. Then I cried right there on the bed. Out of all the days, I was alone – my husband had asked did I need for him to go with me but I said no it was probably nothing, I was sure the results were going to be good. I don’t even remember how I made it down 85 South without wrecking but the Lord allowed me to arrive at my destination safely 🙂
What course of treatment were you prescribed?
I met with my oncologist and she suggested that I have an aggressive two-week treatment of two drugs (chemo) Adriamycin (we call it the Red Devil) cause it makes your hair fall out, and Cytoxan and my last drug I had was every three weeks of Taxotere. So I had the A-C-T. I didn’t have to do radiation unless I was going to choose a lumpectomy but I chose the mastectomy.
What most surprised you about your treatment?
The fact that I didn’t get sick taking chemo: I had heard some horror stories about it but it really wasn’t bad at all. The side effects they said I may get, I didn’t get any of them. I carried on my duties as usual, even led praise and worship EVERY Sunday during my treatment.
What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
Don’t automatically think Death when you hear Cancer, early detection was the key and the treatment I received and that is what makes me a survivor along with my faith in God. Stay positive and around positive people.
How long have you been cancer free?
What lessons did you learn from the experience?
I learned to live, love, and laugh MORE. I learned more trust and faith in God and I realize that God chose me to be a blessing to others that may be affected and that is why he gave me a foundation to help spread the awareness and I must tell it everywhere I go!
If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
I would say “it ain’t over until God says it’s over” – and sometimes what we go through is not for us but it’s for somebody else.
Angel M. McCaskill is the Founder & CEO of Earth Angel Breast Cancer Foundation – an organization that empowers women of all ages. She is a 4-year breast cancer survivor and is supported by a loving family, her husband of 13 years, Pastor Robert L. McCaskill and her three children, Desmond, Trell, and Erin.