Faces of a Warrior: Solangel Bodkin

Stories of Surviving and Thriving

September 3, 2017
Categories: 

Age: 56
Profession: Retired Elementary School Principal
Breast Cancer Type: Invasive Breast Cancer
Year of Diagnosis: 2001
Number of Years as Survivor: 16
Relationship to Susan G. Komen: Komen Supporter


Receiving a diagnosis of cancer, in my case breast cancer, has been the most terrifying experience I’ve had to endure. The possibility of prematurely leaving my children, most importantly my little ones, without the love and direction that only a mother knows how to give petrified me!

I have withstood many difficult moments throughout my journey, countless of them with few chances of survival. My oncologist was honest with me from the beginning, and let me know that the cancer was diagnosed at an advanced stage. My prognosis was grim. I was told that the doctors could not guarantee the effectiveness of the treatment, which sank me further into a feeling of depression and uncertainty. 

I spent months undergoing intensive treatment along with others who also had a cancer diagnosis. I remember the sadness in their eyes, that place scared me but I was not going to give up. I loved my children too much to leave them alone. After my love for God, they are my everything!

During the darkest times of my treatments, I lost faith in God and got tired of fighting. I wanted nothing more than for the pain to stop, it was too much for me. I felt that I was having an out of body experience, the cancer was trying to take my body. I was losing my memory, suffered from tremors, and my nerves were shot. 

The cancer was advancing faster than what the treatments could do for me. At such point in my life, I never thought I would survive this disease. But I am glad to have been proven wrong!

With the support of my husband, children, family and friends, I found the strength to fight again. Even though I was without hair, without part of my teeth, with black nails, pale by the low hemoglobin, I was gradually emerging from the abyss where I sank. I began to rise, to see the light of day, to forget the physical pain, and to remember how to live again.

My battle against breast cancer was one of many years, but I triumphed. God gave me another opportunity to see my children grow, and witness them become wonderful parents to my grandchildren. After 16 years of becoming a breast cancer survivor, I have the desire to support and motivate others who are going through this difficult disease. 

I only hope that my participation in advocacy programs to promote the prevention and resources to fight breast cancer will help to make a difference. I wish to communicate that it is possible to win the battle against cancer and to become, like me, a brave survivor!

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About the Faces of a Warrior Campaign

In 2015, to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale Race for the Cure®, Susan G. Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale teamed with 101.5 LITE FM to launch the Faces of a Warrior campaign. 

To mark the 22nd Annual Race for the Cure®, Komen is spotlighting 22 survivors to represent each year the Race has run. These individuals are sharing their stories of strength and resilience -- not just of surviving breast cancer, but thriving in spite of it.

Read the stories of more Warriors here

For more information on the Faces of a Warrior campaign -- and other ways you can get involved in the Race for the Cure® -- please email race@komenmiaftl.org or call 954-909-0454