Kristie Turns Five

by Terry Watson | November 16th, 2017
Kristie Wallace Barrow (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Kristie Wallace Barrow (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Kristie Wallace Barrow Shares Her Story of Survival

Who am I? It might be easier to tell you who I’m not. I am not a quitter. I’ve been through things that would have possibly killed the average person. It was through these trials where I found myself and learned that I am not easily defeated. Yet, as I wipe the sweat from my brow, I know that it is only by the grace and mercy of God that I am alive today.

Simply put, I am a wife, a mother of four, daughter, sister, and friend to many. I love God and am not ashamed to tell the world that I do. I’m also a woman that loves life and ask the same of others. I am a (ride or die) type of girl. I am down for the cause and loyal, but foremost, I am a team player. I am trying to live my best life until I die, but I refuse to die while I yet live. Yes, I am ‘Living Pink’!

My Diagnosis
I remember it like it was yesterday. I got the call at work on the seventh day of January 2005 around 3:00 pm. It was a Friday and I had been looking forward to the weekend but things would soon deter any plans I had thought of making. In a few shallow words, my surgeon told me that I had breast cancer. I was only 29 years old and never knew of anyone so young having breast cancer, so I immediately thought my life was coming to end.

I immediately planned my funeral. I called my circle of friends and close loved ones, telling them the news while inside I was a nervous wreck. I cried for three days straight until I made it to the altar on Sunday at my home church, Cedar Grove Tabernacle of Praise. I was surrounded by my family and friends and as soon as we said “Amen”, survivor mode was in full effect. I bought a survivor t-shirt and bumper sticker, but there was no escaping the inevitable reality that Cancer would change my life forever.

The things most people take for granted like birthdays or even watching their children basketball games, bring me joy. I know that it could have easily been the other way.

Second Time Around
Eight years later when I was faced with breast cancer again, it was different. My second diagnosis made me angry. I felt like I was a target for disasters. I remember asking my mother, “why me?” I didn’t hang out, I didn’t drink, and I wasn’t in the club. I couldn’t understand why I was having to go through this again. God spoke to me and said “why not you”. He used little ole’ me to let people know He is in control and still performing miracles. I am a walking miracle.
Both times I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast. I could have easily been misdiagnosed. I found my lump in 2004 while I was pregnant with my fourth child Kelcey. While speaking with midwives each month leading up to my delivery, I was told that I shouldn’t worry about the lump because they were sure it was my body getting ready to breast-feed. I am truly thankful that I still chose to have the lump removed.

I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer in my right breast and had a Lumpectomy followed by radiation. Eight years later when the cancer returned, my only option was to have my right breast removed. I then made the very hard decision to remove both of my breasts. After many surgeries, I am still here and still cancer free!

My Life Doesn’t Belong To Cancer
As crazy as it sounds, Cancer saved my life. Although I was healed I was still dying from cancer. I feared a recurrence so I was not living. I was not growing in any area of my life so therefore I was slowly dying. I allowed the disease to consume my life for eight years, before I decided to take my life back.
Until someone is faced with an illness that kills people daily, you cannot truly understand its power. My second diagnosis saved me and I got my life back and found my joy. Many times we are so obsessed with what we don’t have, that we do not celebrate how far we have come. Now I celebrate everything and I don’t take anything for granted. I try my best to live worry-free and I know who holds my future, and because I know I’m in God’s hands, I have joy!

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