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A Personal Reflection from Joye Rozier


Joye Rozier

Joye’s Fear of Getting a Mammogram
When I turned 40 I was afraid to get a mammogram. I was afraid of what I would find. And here I am... I know... I teach this!

I was at a health fair with some nurses, sorority sisters, and there was a mobile mammography van outside of the venue doing screenings. I had about six of my friends and colleagues come with me and hold my hand. It helped me to see that, “Okay, you know this stuff. You need to do this.” And I did it! It was because of the support I had. It wasn’t because I didn’t know. It wasn’t because I didn’t understand the consequences. It was the fear of seeing my sister-in-law, who I loved very dearly, die at such a young age from breast cancer that I couldn’t even imagine that that would be me. But because of my support system, because I had someone who said, “I will go with you if you need me to,” I did it. And I’ve done that. I have said, “I will go with you if you need me to do that.”

My sister-in-law asked me to promise her, before she died, that I would always get my mammogram and take care of my body, because she didn’t. And she was a nurse.

Sometimes fear can really be a factor that can paralyze you. So once we get past the fear and you have somebody there to support you, you begin to let go.

A cultural barrier that we encounter within the African American community is, you don’t tell your business... you don’t let people know. But sometimes secrets can be detrimental to your health.
We have to begin to release that. We have to begin to own what we are supposed to own and help others by sharing something that may be very personal; because you don’t know who it is that you are going to touch.

Her Sister-In-Law’s Story
Her story is two-fold, but cultural as well. First, I believe she put it off a little too long. She believed in faith healing. I am a person who believes in God and I believe that He will do things, but I also believe that God put people on this earth to help you. Because my sister-in-law felt as though God had healed her, she didn’t seek more help. And by the time she started, it was a little late. Her father was a minister and that’s what he believed. Her husband, at the time, went along with the family because that’s what was expected. Twenty years ago it was a lot different. Nobody really talked about it [cancer]. So if you weren’t healed it was believed that you didn’t have enough faith. My sister-in-law was diagnosed at age 29 and by the time she was 32 she was no longer with us.

Joye’s Encouraging Words
Never give up. Even if you don’t have a spiritual basis... I think that’s a very good thing to have because it gets you through one day to the next... so no matter what religion you are, no matter who you pray to, I think that that’s important to do. And to understand that your story was somebody else’s story... may be someone else’s story... or could help someone. Don’t be afraid to share your story.

A person once said, “You are not a survivor—you are an overcomer.” And now, triumphantly, you have created a new life for yourself. Most people look at life differently once they go through something so devastating. Keep on pressing with your life. Live life with everything you have. Every person who goes through something... they have a commitment to talk about it, to help someone else.

Readers, we have provided you with a few excerpts of an interview with Joye Rozier that is featured on  SurvUnity.com. You can view her interview in its entirety by visiting SurvUnity.com and clicking on “Vital Voices.”

As seen in Burlington County Woman and Camden County Woman

 

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