Victorious Vickie…

January 1st, 2023

I AM the Victorious Vickie Long and I am a cancer survivor!

My journey began June 19, 2020, when I felt a knot in front of my right breast. Not knowing what to do and unprepared for what lay ahead due to no health insurance coverage, I did not know what my journey was going to be. In the meantime, the masses were growing, and I had mixed emotions dealing with what was going on. What would my family say, and would I have the support to stay strong and keep moving on. I have always had an unshakable faith in God and knew I would need Him on my side from the very beginning. I waited 4 months before I Googled free mammograms in Galveston County. I found Galveston County Health District D’feet Project – Free Mammograms. I called and set up an appointment for September 24, 2020. I went to UTMB Mobile Unit and received a Free Mammogram.

A few weeks later, I received a letter from UTMB stating that I would need to be seen again because I had an abnormal mammogram. On October 20th, I had an Ultrasound and 3D Mammogram at the same facility. The Ultrasound revealed 2 masses in the front part of my breast and 1 mass in my lymph node. UTMB immediately scheduled a biopsy for all 3 masses. On November 13th, the results showed all 3 were cancerous. I was diagnosed with HER2 Positive Breast Cancer and that the cancer was very aggressive so I took the necessary steps and filed for Medicaid. I was approved to receive Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Insurance (BCCC).

Vickie LongNow it was time for me to face the challenge of telling my family and friends. Not even thinking about myself, I just wanted to be able to be strong knowing the emotion that would follow after delivering the news. Although, I did not want to have a meltdown or get upset about what I had been diagnosed with while telling and sharing this wealth of information with my loved ones, I felt relief and a sense of peace once I did. I was armed with the full armor of God, and with loving, supportive, praying family and friends that believed I would beat it! Now it was time to take action and heal both my mind and body. I went to MD Anderson for my chemotherapy treatments. Many days my body would just be tired after my chemotherapy. It would leave me nauseated, exhausted, and often times my entire body would just be weak. I would not have an appetite and would just want to rest. Being able to rest, gave me comfort knowing that I would feel better later. I can remember when I started losing my hair, it was coming out in clumps and it was fast. Victorious Vickie Long

The hair loss was not so traumatic because I knew this would be one of the obstacles I would be faced with on this journey. I chose to embrace my beautiful, bald head for a long period of time, and then I was gifted with a custom made wig by a friend. I felt the beauty that was still within my body, my mind, and my soul. I remember saying to myself, I was going to focus on all of the positive things and not let any thing come between me and my healing that could possibly cause a major setback. I wanted to make sure I had a positive outcome and attitude because I knew I was going to celebrate really soon. After speaking with my doctor and my family members regarding my mastectomy, I decided that I would only have one breast removed and it was my personal choice as well as my doctor advising me that this was the best choice. I did not need to have a double mastectomy. I had a mastectomy on my right breast and all the cancer was removed even in my lymph node. I give all my praises and healing to the Almighty God I serve Jehovah.

Vickie LongI am so thankful that I’ve had an excellent support group around me during this entire journey as well as my family. I was able to call my family members and several friends, all who had personal experiences and could really help and coach me through this for a better understanding of what the road was going to lead to.

I am excited about helping and sharing my journey with other ladies dealing with their past, present and current cancer situation. As a woman of color, I feel that many minority women do not get the resources, information, and education that needs to be given to them in order to be directed and assisted in getting insurance, treatment, and support for a cancer patient. I would like to encourage women to advocate for themselves, go out and speak to others, and help those who do not know how to get screened, get insurance or find out where to get a mammogram because early detection is the best detection.

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