October is Breast Cancer Survivor Month–this is my Cancer Navigator submission

Only Eighteen Months to Live

My name is Deliska Bradley, but I go by Dee for this reason. Nobody can remember or say Deliska. My mother waited nine years to have children and she wanted a different name for her first child. Well, she got it.

I won’t bore you with all the ‘facts’ of my misguided youth…because I was one of those prodigal children. I did know all about Jesus at the age of nine, and joined a little Baptist Church and became baptized into the faith. I tried to be a good girl until I was about sixteen.

I married at nineteen, had a son in 1972, divorced, moved to Texas, married, divorced…and the story goes…

I moved back to Georgia in 1983 and I went to a church after being invited by my mailman to come to a bible study on Galatians 2:20, The Crucified Life of Jesus. I figured I had tried everything; I might as well try Jesus, again! Isn’t this sad? I’d try church again?

After ten weeks of Bible Study, and so much soul-searching and prayers, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart and become my Lord and Savior. I was a new creature. I wanted to jump pews and shout, “I got it! Praise God, I got it!” But as most of us know, I was too embarrassed to do this type of praise! How awful! I should have.

I had met a man who stole my heart. He was the finest man and I loved him with all I had. He was so kind and funny! And he was good-looking, tall, dark complexion, curly hair, brown-eyed and did I say he was tall and funny? He was just what I had always dreamed of.  His name was Ray Bradley and he was from Rockmart, GA. Where was Rockmart, GA?

We married November 5, 1988, and I wish I could say all things were just wonderful, but if I did, lightning would strike me dead. We had our issues. But God and love held us together. We never really talked about divorce, but we have both contemplated killing each other a time or two.

In 1992 I was having lots of problems with my digestive system, and I had worked for a doctor who had been supposedly keeping up with my problem. He kept telling me to take my medicine and eat right. I quit working for him in March and by August I Stage 4 colón cancer was a real diagnosis by a REAL doctor. I went through seven months of chemo-therapy. The oncologist wanted me to take six more months of chemo and I told him NO in short order. He told me he wanted me to have another CT scan, because the blood test never showed any cancer.

The CT scan showed I had another mass. Surgery was scheduled for April, 1993 because I had a metastatic colon cancer and my first breast cancer. The breast cancer was a little spot in my left breast which was ‘sore’ and Dr. Banny Harbin took it out, not thinking it was anything to worry about. I had something to worry about!!

I was told in April 1993, since the attacked by Stage 4 adenocarcinoma colon cancer with metastasized cancer and breast cancer I had the diagnosis of eighteen months to live. I needed to go make my final arrangements and get my affairs in order. I did. Little did they know. I knew the great physician!

I had a heart attack in 1997, I was attacked by kidney cancer in 1999 and had my left kidney removed. Ten years less one month I was diagnosed with another tumor in my right kidney. Not a doctor in Rome, GA would touch me. They said I had terminal kidney cancer. I said OH NO I DON’T! I went to Birmingham, AL and had cyoablation on my right kidney. They froze the tumor. I had complication, but I’m alive!!

I was cruising along, thinking I was cancer free! I was scheduled in January 2013 for a mammogram, which I have every year! I went to the clinic, and when they called, saying I needed to come back in for another look, I wasn’t worried. They had to do this before. I went back in, and when the radiologists came in, with ‘the look’, I knew I was in trouble. He said, “I hate to tell you, we did find something in your left breast, and if you think we need to do a needle biopsy, I can do this now, or we can wait six months and watch it.”

Well, with my luck, I don’t wait. I said ‘NOPE, we’ll so it NOW’. He did. And it was suspicious. They found two cancers in the left breast, both different. So the decision to take off both breasts was my doctors suggestion. I had reconstruction surgery. I would not tell you to do this, if you can have a lumpectomy, please do so. I did this the first time, and this was right for me then. This time it wasn’t an option.

I do not know how much more cancer I will have to endure. It is not up to me. I do not invite cancer…I do not HAVE it as a guest! It attacks me! I do know, if God brings me to it, HE will bring me through it. If I had not turned my life over to HIM in 1988, I would not be here today. “I am a spiritual soul in an imperfect earthly body!”

Breast cancer is spelled with a little ‘c’ and my Christ is spelled with a big “C”. One day we will find the cure for cancer, but today we have the cure for eternity and it is Christ.

Praise the Lord. No matter what happens to me…I am gonna be Okay!!

Dee Bradley  10/13/2013

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