May 12, 2020
A 79-year-old breast cancer survivor, Dale Eastman, opens up about her unimaginable ordeal with the illness and how the global pandemic changed her life.
In an interview with Dale Eastman, a 79-year-old woman who battled with metastatic breast cancer, Amomama gained insight on the challenges that Eastman had to face while struggling to defeat the illness for several decades. Eastman said:
"COVID 19 has brought stress into my life as a metastatic breast cancer patient. When you are going through a serious cancer diagnosis, reducing care is a hard reality to accept."
Once it was discovered that the cancer had resurfaced again and was now metastatic, Dale had to, once again, face the fear and possibility of her losing the fight against the illness and dying. She had to start getting treatment immediately, beginning with two oral cancer drugs.
She also began monthly blood draws with which her increasing anemia and depleting immunity could be monitored. A side effect of the treatment was the terrible development of weaker bones, which could eventually break. She had to take bone injections to prevent that as well.
Monthly appointments with her Oncologist quickly became her norm as it was imperative to monitor every slight change in her body and make sure her condition did not spiral out of control suddenly.
Eastman admitted after receiving the original diagnosis over 25 years ago that she never thought she would survive and grow old.
Right in the middle of March, what would have been her surest bet to getting better suddenly halted due to the global health crisis caused by the fast-spreading novel coronavirus with the debilitated state of her immune system and those of many others like her in mind.
While her hometown of San Antonio, which sits in Texas, slowly drew to a gradual close, Dale began to have an epiphany in which she realized that many other women like her were struggling with the same issues as she was. She and four friends established a foundation. In 1993 she and four breast cancer survivors established a foundation, the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation. She revealed:
"My work with the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Coalition has made me aware of the other problems COVID 19 is presenting for breast cancer patients."
Through the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation that she and her friends created, women from different places who were unable to receive medical attention were able to open up and find comfort in being with other women who understood their conflict.
Through the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation, women from different places who were unable to receive medical attention were able to open up and find comfort in being with other women who understood their conflict.
Dale revealed that the foundation quickly grew in members, and the women all became strong advocates for themselves and many others.
Eastman also admitted that she never thought she would survive and see her three children graduate college, attend their weddings and experience having five grandchildren.
A journalist and news anchor named Donna Deegan also battled breast cancer and beat the illness three times.
To raise awareness about breast cancer as part of Amomama's #WomenWithWill project, Amomama exclusively interviewed Deegan and listened to her inspiring story of bravery and will.
Women like Dale and Donna and so many others out there have continued to be a source of inspiration and hope to other women who are struggling, showing them that they can survive the storms that come their way.