Survivor Feature Profiles by Melissa Karrer, Photography by Phillips Mitchell
In salute of Breast Cancer Awareness Month TOPS is proud to share the stories of 23 survivors.
Meet Carol Simpson.
Due to personal history, Carol had been receiving regular mammograms prior to age 40. When the news came that she had breast cancer at age 42, it was not a shock, and although it would be difficult, she knew it was time to tell her family. She did, however, feel a sense of peace and was never scared throughout the process. Although she admits, “Most days throughout this, it has felt like I’m living someone else’s life.”
As a single mother of a 17-year old son, and whose parents are no longer living, Carol relied on her faith, friends, and siblings for support. “Time zones were never an issue when it came to their love and support. I am eternally grateful that everyone kept a stiff upper lip and hung in there with me,” she explains. Carol is also thankful to those that kept her son, Richie, faithful and focused as he navigated the path along with her.
Initially, the biggest concern for Carol was how to proceed with treatment. But overall her faith never faltered. “The chaotic images I saw in both breasts during my biopsy allowed me to not second guess the double mastectomy,” she recalls. While she knew she could not control what was happening, she did feel she could control her approach to it.
The advice Carol has for others is to not give up on yourself before you have even started. She explains, “It’s not been fun or easy by any stretch of the imagination; it’s merely a chapter.”