Cynthia Clark of Riverdale, Georgia, is a breast cancer survivor. This is her story, in her own words.
The skip in my journey was one I never thought I’d face, primarily because where middle-aged, mature women are concerned, I considered myself pretty healthy. In retrospect, I still do.
My story began with a self-examination. Like many other women who have walked in my shoes, I found an unusual lump in my breast. After three doctor’s appointments and urging my physician’s assistant to order specific tests, I finally reached the time for my mammogram.
Two days after her mammogram on March 7, 2016, Cynthia received news that she had HER2-positive, stage 3a breast cancer. She was referred to Atlanta Cancer Care’s Dr. Lijo Simpson.
On March 30, 2016, I saw my first specialist and the skip in my journey began.
I believe it was in divine order to be under the care of Dr. Simpson and staff.
After receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy that was not successful in reducing the tumor, surgery and different treatments were in order. First was radiation treatment three times a week for several weeks. Once that was completed, I thought I was good until the next scan revealed suspicious cells in the area of my left chest less than three months later.
A second surgery in June 2017 removed lymph nodes, followed by more treatment plans.
I felt the Atlanta Cancer Care team cared and I clearly understood my prayers were answered. After participating in different trials, the last one, Enhertu, was successful and it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in December 2019 — the month I received, again, scans indicating suspicious cells in the area of my left clavicle. It is by God’s grace that I have not been consumed by this life-threatening disease, and I am so thankful!
For the past six years, Atlanta Cancer Care has shown a kind, compassionate, attentive, and most of all personable care toward me. I am grateful to each of the beautiful faces — Carla, Esther, Shameka and Courtney — at the front desk who always greet me with a smile; the team of nurses; and course, Dr. Simpson. They all do their part to understand and add to the quality of my life. I am extremely grateful to each of them.
Cynthia is a woman of faith. Throughout her journey, she looked to God and Scripture for hope.
I was hurt because I was faced with such a devastating disease and my mortality became very real for me. During this time, I felt so many different emotions like a lack of confidence, shying away from people and feeling less than a woman. I prayed and asked for those feelings to be removed from my spirit. All I can say is, “But God.”
I thank God for my support system. I am blessed to have my son and his family, including my three wonderful grandbabies, and twice as blessed to still have both of my parents. My greatest support however was and continues to be my wonderful and loving husband, Pastor John B. Clark. He watched over and cared for me during this time, and without him I don’t know physically how I could have made it.
I am thankful for the grace bestowed upon me and the hope and peace I have embraced and endured on my journey. Of course, it’s not one I would have chosen. ... I hope sharing my journey filled with faith and hope is an inspiration for others to continue having a drive to live and never lose hope.
Today, I spend my time enjoying my grandchildren, church family, women’s retreats, reading, participating in a personal fitness class and traveling. I retired in 2020 after 41 years of service in corporate America. I must say, life is grand!
*The health story shared here may portray atypical results of survival for this type of cancer, given its severity and stage. Atypical results are considered surviving a cancer that has less than a 50% five-year survival rate. Patients should consult an expert to discuss specific treatment plans and the possible outcomes before making medical decisions.