Reprinted from Humans of Calvert County

“I knew that someday it would probably be me because unfortunately, cancer runs rampant in my family. My mother died from cancer. My father died from cancer. Aunts who died from breast cancer, and cousins that fortunately survived breast cancer. I knew it was for me it was just a matter of time.

I was lucky because I had Dr. Sheldon Goldberg as my surgeon. When I went to have a mammogram, I was told it was probably just calcifications, and leave it be-it would be fine. Something inside me-intuition, gut instinct, whatever you want to call it, I called by my gynecologist, Dr. Alonzo, and she said to call Dr. Sheldon Goldberg because of my family history. So I called him, and I dealt with him directly from the beginning. He was the best.

When he called me with the news, my husband wasn’t home. He had just run out to the store, but it seemed like hours before he was home. All these things were running through my mind before he got back. When I told him what Dr. Goldberg said, we let our kids know that we were taking this head-on. Dr. Goldberg told me that I could have a lumpectomy then radiation. I decided to get a mastectomy instead. So I had expanders put in for implants, and during that time I contracted MRSA.


So then I had to be treated for that, and then it was back to square one for my reconstruction. I was devastated. It meant more hospital stays, and surgery, and recovery. If it wasn’t for the doctors I had, it would have been impossible for me to get through it. But I’ve been well ever since. I’ve had good check-ups, and my scans have always been good. My mom died when she was 42 of cancer, and I was 49. It’s in the back of my mind, and I always say a prayer before my annual mammogram. 

I look at life differently than before. I don’t take the people I love for granted. You just never know what tomorrow may bring. I was scared to death that I wasn’t going to be able to see my grandkids grow-up. 

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...