Latoya Jones proud Breast Cancer survivor
What started out as a lump in her breast led to swollen nipples and a diagnosis of breast cancer for Latoya Jones, who 13 years later, shared her story with Outlook.
Jones was only 19 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She told Outlook that she thought the world had stopped and could not hold back the tears, "I thought that the disease was for older persons, I didn't think that young people could have it. I was so hurt and asked God why he was so wicked to me? No mother, no father and now cancer," Jones shared. Jones shared her story at the launch of Breast Cancer Awareness Month at the headquarters of the Jamaica Cancer Society on Lady Musgrave Road last Tuesday.
Jones recalls that her foster parents sent her to do a biopsy, then a mammogram to confirm her diagnosis. Within a week, she did a surgery to remove the lump, and started chemotherapy. On top of that, she was told by the doctor that she could not have children. But two years later, she had her son Karlando.
But Jones' fight wasn't over. The cancer cells spread to her lungs and fractured one of them. Five years later, Jones faced another battle - she had a stroke which put her in the hospital for a month and half. They discovered she had a brain tumour, "The doctors gave me six months to live because of the state I was in. I started to give a lot of trouble; living out my last days to the fullest, until by the grace of God I was released - able to walk and talk," Jones confessed.
A year later, Jones thought her life was back on track. But then she lost her sight. "The doctor told me that I would have lost my sight based on the tumour in my brain. It was the size of a small orange, so losing my sight didn't really surprise me," Jones explained.
She recalled for Outlook that it was a normal thing that ended in darkness, "I was at church and started to see doubles and then it all went black. My husband told me to watch my step and he guided me out of the church into the car without telling anyone what was happening to me." Jones explained.
She continued, "It hit home two weeks later, especially the fact that I could not do as much as I used to. The doctor told me that I would have to learn to adjust, so I learnt the number of steps I need to climb to the top of the stairs, where the bathroom and kitchen were," Jones said.
Family support is extremely important in dealing with her cancer and subsequent loss of sight, Jones was not lacking in that department. Jones tells Outlook that her husband, Lloyd, and son Karlando, were there for her every step of the way. "My husband carried down the bed from upstairs so I would not have to climb the stairs. He got everything I needed. As for my son, he would read text messages and letters from the school, so I could respond. I also called on him to get anything I needed, he did without hesitation," Jones expressed.
The thing that Jones said hit her most was the thought of her nine-year-old son, who had to deal with the situation. She was unable to see him and help him with his homework. "No one could reach him. He started counselling, which did not help. We were later told to leave him alone and let him deal with the situation in his own way," Jones told Outlook.
Six month later, Jones' sight returned, "The tumour had shrunk (because of) the radiation treatment, and I regained my sight. It was a very emotional day for everyone, especially my son who came home from a rough day at school. I shouted out 'Chad' - his alias name - and his response was 'Mommy, you can see me', I said 'yes'. He began holding fingers for me to identify how many fingers he had up. He also quizzed me on what he was doing and wearing at the time. He hugged me and started crying," Jones laughed.
"I am happy to be able to function effectively again. Prayer is very powerful. I was told by the doctor that without my will power, I could not have made it. I am a proud cancer survivor and an ambassador for the Jamaica Cancer Society," Jones added.