Survivor Stories 2014:
1. How did you first find out you had cancer?
I am a poster child for the benefit of early detection because a mammogram led to my breast cancer diagnosis.
2. How did you react when you heard the news?
My initial response was shock, but that was immediately followed by never asking why me? Instead I asked what for and was given a vision that has forever changed my life.
3. What course of treatment were you prescribed?
The benefit of early detection provided me with treatment options. I was offered a lumpectomy with radiation followed by 5 years of Tamoxifen. Or, a unilateral mastectomy with no prescribed additional treatment. After a second opinion, I chose a bi-lateral mastectomy with no prescribed additional treatment.
4. What most surprised you about your treatment?
It was not as difficult as I thought it would be.
5. What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
Always get a second opinion. Have faith. Take a moment to absorb the diagnosis and then prepare for the battle with a winning attitude.
6. How long have you been cancer free?
I have been cancer free for ten years as of 10/14/14.
7. What lessons did you learn from the experience?
I learned that my breast cancer was a blessing. Through this journey, I found that my purpose in life is to ensure that underserved women have the same opportunity to benefit from early detection as I did.
8. If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
Look outside of yourself. Be an overcomer and blessing to others by taking life’s difficulties to show someone else the way. The rewards are priceless!
Andrea Ivory was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She benefitted from early detection and access to treatment and realized that she was saved from breast cancer to serve other women.
Late in 2005, Andrea established The Women’s Breast Health Initiative, Florida Affiliate (WBHI) as a non-profit organization dedicated to educating women about the importance of breast health, by providing door to door breast health awareness, education, screening, referrals and treatment for underserved women. These efforts have diagnosed breast cancer at twice the national average. Since its inaugural door to door outreach campaign in 2006, WBHI volunteer teams have knocked on more than 55,000 doors in underserved neighborhoods of South Florida.
In 2008 she was one of ten women recognized as a L’Oréal Paris Woman of Worth from over 3,000 nominations.