My JourneyTo My Testimony : Tamika Sims
Monday, January 28, 2019
Posted by: Megan Purtell
MY JOURNEY TO MY TESTIMONY
By Tamika Sims
Hi, I am Tamika, co survivor, co-previvor (if that's the correct word) and SURVIVOR. I am the daughter of a two time BRCA 2 positive breast cancer survivor. I am co-previvor for my 30 year old younger sister who is also BRCA positive and has had a prophylactic mastectomy which makes her a previvor. I was diagnosed on 08/11/2014 (certain dates you just will not forget no matter how bad chemo brain is), just 11 days after turning 38, with Stage 2 Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Like my mom and sister, I am BRCA 2 positive. The preventive measures that I was already taking because I had tested positive for the BRCA 2 mutation 2 years ago is what helped me catch my cancer. I was a single mom of 2, my daughter away at her first year in college, my son in pre k. I kept thinking “I need to see my son graduate kindergarten, I need to see him graduate high school, my daughter needs to graduate from college, she can’t take care of her brother. This can't happen, now not just when life seemed to be getting back to normal for my family this can’t be happening.”
New Year’s Day 2008, we lost the matriarch of the family my grandmother, she was the one that held us all together and when anyone was sick grandmother knew exactly what to do and was always there. On January 15, 2011 my uncle was found in his home dead from medical issues. After we had buried him and enroute back home to Detroit, Michigan on 1/27/2011, my Aunt's husband suffered cardiac arrest at a rest stop and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Weeks after that, the now matriarch who was there whenever we needed her, my Aunt was diagnosed with Liver Cancer at age 50 and within months her health rapidly went down and she passed away 07/04/2011; worst 4th of July ever.
So getting the news about my diagnosis, I was hurting, silently hurting inside and no one knew it. What was I to do? No one even knows I have anything like this going on, I can’t tell them after all I am now the person that if anyone is sick they call me. Missing my grandmother and aunt and hurting inside, I knew God’s word is TRUE and in his word that he will cover you, keep you, shield you, protect you, lead you, guide you and MOST DEFINITELY HEAL. So I will continue to trust in his timing; rely on his promise; wait for his answers; believe in his miracles; rejoice in his goodness; and relax in his presence.
All I got now are my PINK GLOVES UP, LET'S DO THIS!
I later got accepted into Cancer Treatment Center and had my appointment scheduled for October 2. I went through chemo, surgery (about 7 surgeries due to complications before finally losing my expanders), followed by radiation. During my chemo, I would have it on a Wednesday and return to work on Thursday, never missing a day of work. During radiation, I would slip away from work during my lunch, have radiation and return to work. Often times we hear all these bad thing about breast cancer what it will do to you, how it will make you feel. But every person is different, I didn’t experience those bad side effects. Often tested, but my faith was never broken. It was storming in my life, but I wasn’t waiting for the storm to pass I was learning to dance in the rain.
I am THANKFUL for organizations like Breast Cancer Recovery Infinite Boundaries retreats which focuses on women like my elf find inner strength and hope to live each day after breast cancer. One day, scrolling through Facebook that I stumbled upon someone who shared the page is how I ended up on this life changing retreat. The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin is where I dealt with a lot of things mentally and emotionally surrounded by other non-judgmental women just like myself. The emotions, the anger, the fear that I carried all those miles with me from Georgia. When I left there, I left them there too. I was so at peace and had a different outlook on my life, my purpose. For once, I has healing emotionally, not just dealing with it. I encourage anyone that is going through this; this retreat is for you.
THANKFUL for organizations like Young Survival Coalition, which was founded in 1998 by three young women who were under the age of 35 when diagnosed. They were discouraged by the lack of resources available and under representation of young women. So now, this organization educates young women about breast cancer and just allows us to have such a sisterhood.
Thankful for LIv bicycles for donating bikes to breast cancer survivors. You see not only does it allow me to ride Tour de Pink, a 3 day-200 mile ride where each rider raises $2500 or more for women with breast cancer, it allows me even going through my own journey to give back and help some other young women. It also helps me in my fight against breast cancer and to find a new normal.
GRATEFUL for being able to be a YSC F2F coordinator for South Atlanta. Once a month, we can get together for girl talk whether it's about your relationship, how do your boobs feel; just imagine some of the conversations we have! It's a night all about us and the topics and things that matter to us. Then, there are those nights where we just want to hang out and not talk about cancer. Those nights happen too. It's just all about the sisterhood.
GRATEFUL to be a YSC state leader for Georgia, a link to spread the word to healthcare providers and other young women.
GRATEFUL that someone noticed me and my passion to help others after all I have been through and I was a 2017 Atlanta Falcons Dazzle and Dine Nominee. Where I attended an Atlanta Falcons game a Sunday and was a part of the pregame and halftime for the NFL'S Crucial Catch. Then on Tuesday, was picked up by an Atlanta Falcons legend and taken to a salon where myself and 9 other ladies were pampered and then taken to dinner that night. Our food was prepared by and we were waited on by current Falcons players.
BLESSED that although my journey may not have not been one that I ever wanted to go through in my life, each day was just a bunch of different chapters in my life. I had people praying for me even when I didn’t know it, I didn’t get lost in a chapter, at the end of the day I was able to say The End.
Blessed that my kids still have Mommy.
BLESSED that I now know my PURPOSE that I was assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved. I am now intentionally living. What are you living for?