Denitra Ferguson is a woman who takes care of everyone around her. Cancer taught her to care for herself. She credits good health, regular exercise, healthy eating, faith and a positive attitude with getting her through her diagnosis and treatment.
In 2015, when she first discovered a lump in her left breast, she thought it was probably a cyst related to hormones. Though she always had an annual mammogram, she saw her primary care physician at Aldine Health Center who referred her to Smith Clinic for an ultrasound and biopsy.
Denitra says, “When I heard the diagnosis, I calmly asked, ‘What’s the next step?’ Then I went home and cried.
“I’m a child of God, and that kept me going. I asked my three children to be strong. My mother reminded me to keep my hope and trust in God. I did. I was scared, but I kept going, and I shared my positive attitude with women I met in treatment.”
Denitra started a five-month regimen of chemotherapy at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital. She chose to have a double mastectomy to relieve her fear of a recurrence of breast cancer, then reconstructive surgery.
“The care I received at LBJ was phenomenal, the best. I look back to when I wondered if the treatment would ever end. Then it ended. Now I enjoy life day by day. I grab ahold of life and love, love, love.
“At 50, I feel like I’m at my highest peak. My health has been restored. I’m cancer free.”
What advice does Denitra have for other women starting the survivor’s journey? “Stay positive. Don’t read too much on the Internet. Find a good support system. Keep the faith. Take time for yourself. Slow down. Do what you can, then leave the rest for another day.”
She says her support system was the best: her children (ages 34, 25, 20), fiancé, mother, family, and a dear friend. “They know how I feel about a clean house. They kept my house spotless.”
As a hair stylist with her own shop, Denitra reminds women they are beautiful with or without their hair. She encourages them to keep a close check on their health. And if cancer becomes part of their story: with a mustard seed of faith, there is hope at the end of the tunnel.