It was June 2012 when Angela Bryan first felt a small lump under her right breast. She convinced herself it was a bug bite. After all, she walked a lot and spent time outdoors at the park with her grandson. It was still there a month later, but she didn’t want to worry her family. Then she didn’t want to spoil the holidays. In May 2013, she ran out of excuses. She went to the clinic at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital where a doctor assured her, “We can take care of you.” Tests revealed a lump in each breast that had to be “taken care of immediately.” That shook her.
Angela remembers, “An employee said to me, ‘What are you afraid of? I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 19. Don’t be afraid.’ She gave me an Avon survivor bracelet and said, ‘When you’re uncertain, look at this and know you’re going to be okay.’ That’s when I knew I could make it.”
Less than 15 days later, she had a double mastectomy at LBJ Hospital and soon after started six months of chemotherapy. She had six weeks of radiation therapy at Smith Clinic.
In 2016, she learned the cancer had metastasized to her bones. She’s currently on two medications.
“I’m fine,” she says. “I enjoy every day and don’t worry about anything. I love life and have no regrets.”
Angela plans things years out and looks forward to them, but she also enjoys today. “I live every day to see the sun, to say hello to someone, to encourage someone. I remind people they’re stronger than they think. Regardless of how you feel, the strength is within you.”
She has made a few lifestyle changes. She eats fruit, which she doesn’t like. And she’s learned to accept help.
“Cancer isn’t a disease you should shoulder alone. Let your family help. Depend on your faith. Trust your doctors. Make that relationship a partnership. My doctor actually calls just to check on me. The people at LBJ care for me. I have it all – doctors, family and a God to believe in.”
Angela knows her future is bright. “I’m going to live until I can’t anymore. Every day, I want to be the best I can be. I want to be a beautiful 68-year-old. I want to show people what 68 can be.”