- Faith & Family
Ten years ago, when her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, Patricia E. Edwards supported her every step of the way in her fight for life while she received treatment. Later Edwards realized that one of the most important things she did for her sister was to arm her with four pages of questions that she should ask her oncologist.
“It is common for even the most erudite among us that when faced with a daunting diagnosis and scary treatment that we lose our voice at the moment when we are most vulnerable,” she said. “Even though we know that cancer of the breast has become more of a chronic disease, I think there is a lot of absolute terror and fear surrounding the diagnosis.”
So three years ago, Edwards began writing what would later become “The Little Pink Purse of Courage.” The booklet includes questions which Edwards, whose career as a nurse spans 47 years, believes will empower women to become more knowledgable about breast cancer and their treatment options as well as establish a much need connection with their doctors.
And while breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Black women, the American Cancer Society says that 78 percent of them will fight and survive their battle. Edwards says the number one question that women should ask is what type of breast cancer they have.
“There are so many different types and the type of breast cancer determines what type of treatment, what type of medication you receive and it may even determine your chances of survival,” she explained.
In addition, women must ask what are the most effective ways such as e-mail, social media platforms or via cell phone in order to communicate with their doctor.
Women must ask, “Will you be there when I need you most?”
Empowering friends and family to help
While knowledge can set individuals free, Edwards, who describes the booklet as a “tool for families,” reminds us that it can also help a person’s family and friends as well.
“One man who read it said that if he had had the book before, he would have known what to do to help his wife and would have understood what she was facing,” Edwards recalls.
“One of the things that people who are ill need is to write a little list of things that they normally do but can’t do now that they are sick and say ‘here’s my list — pick one thing that you can do for me,’” she said.
The book is available at www.thelittlepinkpurseofcourage.com.
By Kaila Heard