Local Breast Cancer Survivor Shares Her Story
Breast cancer it not something Pamela Weems ever expected to hear come out of a doctor’s mouth.
“It never hits you until it hits home,” says Weems.
The 60-something former model, beauty consultant, and mom was diagnosed in 1997 after getting a mammogram, on a whim, at the Mall of America.
“They were offering a free gift if you go down to the sage clinic, and you get a breast exam,” she explained.
But that unexpected gift saved her life. The clinic called her back for an ultrasound after spotting something suspicious.
Coping with a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
The mammogram showed Weems had stage four breast cancer.
Her world temporarily fell apart. Weems says her life and world just stopped.
Then, she went through four months of chemo, and removal of the diseased breast. Twelve years later, Weems discovered a lump in the other breast. This time around, she didn’t have to go through chemo. However, she did have the diseased breast removed and decided not to get reconstructive surgery.
“My scars to me are there like my battle wounds, it’s a war that I’ve gone through. It’s proof that I’ve gone through the war,” said Weems.
Although it’s been 21 years since the diagnosis, emotions are still raw.
With tears in her eyes, she said, “It’s a lot when you look at your kids, look at your mom, look at your family, it’s a lot.”
She prayed her way out of the darkness, surrounded by the love of her family. Weems now uses her struggles to help others succeed. Ten years ago, the survivor started a group called “Pink Ladies,” which focuses on breast cancer awareness in the African-American community.
“There are more Caucasian women that are diagnosed with breast cancer, but there are more of us that die from it. I want to save our sisters, “said Weems.
The group holds annual ‘Think Pink Parties,” with free mammograms and fundraising. Weems says a percentage goes toward the African American Breast Cancer Alliance.
She celebrates life and never takes one single minute or second for granted.