Health & WellnessLifestyles

Anya’s cancer survival testimony

Every day Anya Adderley awakens, she said she is grateful and thankful. The breast cancer survivor said she looks for the positive in everything. If it’s anything to do with negativity, she said she just does not take it on.

“Last year was the trial, this year is the testimony,” said Adderley, who, over a nine-month span in 2020, overcame pneumonia, COVID-19, and bilateral mastectomies along with 16 rounds of chemotherapy.

The 44-year-old’s health challenges began after she felt a lump in her left breast during a self-examination. She had postponed her annual wellness check after the first case of COVID-19 was identified in The Bahamas in March 2020, and travel restrictions were imposed.

It was in September 2020 that she brought the lump to her sister’s attention. She advised Adderley to have it checked. She visited the gynecologist a few weeks later and was advised to have a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. Her results noted malignancy and a Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis.

“Mentally, I was preparing myself for it because from the time I felt the lump and I felt it growing, I knew it would be possible for it to develop into breast cancer,” said Adderley. “I said to God, I’m going to promise you two things and I ask one thing of you – whatever it is, please, just give me the strength to deal with it and I promise you, I’ll never question you and never complain.”

Compounding her positive diagnosis, Adderley received notice on October 27 that the establishment at which she worked would be ceasing operations. With just four months of health insurance available to her, she had to process both having breast cancer and losing her job.

Adderley focused on starting the process to plan the best way forward to overcome breast cancer.

“A lot of people treat cancer as a death sentence but I didn’t see it as that. I just saw it as something God brought me to, so I knew He would bring me through it. That was my belief that I held on to and still hold on to every day,” she said.

The mother to a nine-year-old son, Andre, Adderley said he was her source of motivation.

Despite hair and weight loss, soreness, mouth sores, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting, giving up the fight and giving into cancer, she said, was not an option.

She was declared cancer-free on July 19, 2021, and is now going through post-double mastectomy reconstruction.

Her advice to people is to pay attention to their body, take their health seriously, and get regular check-ups and physicals.

“Try to maximize being the best person you can be. Even if it is just giving someone a friendly smile or a kind gesture. Also, never believe that it cannot happen to you. Cancer has no respect; know that it can happen to you, but just live your best life.”

While her son was her motivation for life, Adderley said she had a massive support group which included her mom Edna, two sisters Sabrina and Julanda, as well as other family members and friends.

During October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s stories like Adderley’s that resonate with officials at CIBC FirstCaribbean, which has raised nearly half-a-million dollars for cancer care organizations in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera through its Walk for the Cure (WFTC) initiative.

The funds generated from the annual event are primarily used to assist with the purchase and maintenance of equipment used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients like Adderley. They are also used to provide assistance, care and counseling to patients and their families as well as to raise awareness, and stress the importance of early detection, through education campaigns across the region.

During October, CIBC FirstCaribbean encourages participants to walk any desired route and virtually interact with the bank by posting photos, videos, and screenshots from their fitness apps to Facebook and Instagram using the special social media hashtags #WalkfortheCureBAH2021 and #WeStillWalkfortheCure, and tagging the bank in their posts for a chance to win prizes.

Companies and individuals are encouraged to participate in this year’s 10th annual WFTC, purchase WFTC shirts, and donate to the WFTC account at any CIBC FirstCaribbean branch or via online banking. All proceeds from shirt purchases and donations will go to local cancer care organizations. The WFTC Account Number is 201646737 and persons can contact WalkfortheCureBAH@cibcfcib.com for more information.

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