Ophelia Dabney-Reese is the sister to Joy Dabney-Howard. They are two blood sisters who had been diagnosed with cancer. Ophelia Dabney-Reese is from Austin, Texas. She is a retired school teacher, gospel singer, poet and author. Both of these fabulous women with their strong faith were able to overcome their battle with cancer.
Ophelia: I want to thank you for considering me. It means a lot and I hope someone can be blessed and I pray this article finds a healing for others. God is good, my motto is the three C’s: Change, Courage and Conquer. I have written a poem about the three C’s.
Shola: I know it will. What made you suspicious that something was wrong?
Ophelia: I discovered a lump on my right breast, it was early detection. I went to have an x-ray and a mass of tissue was found.
Shola: What information did you research about the type of cancer that you have?
Ophelia: I researched information on the internet and I found out black women are at a high risk of having breast cancer due to some of the fatty foods we eat and also some products we use on our hair can cause cancer.
Shola: I didn’t realize that. What type of cancer do you have?
Ophelia: I had an aggressive lump type on my right breast.
Shola: At what stage were you diagnosed?
Ophelia: My cancer was stage 2.
Shola: Did you take anyone along with you when you were diagnosed?
Ophelia: No one came with me I faced it alone.
Shola: You are a very brave woman. What happened after you were informed of the cancer?
Ophelia: I have written a short documentary of what happened on that day. I cried and had a long talk with God.
Shola: I can understand a situation like this can bring you to tears. What was your reaction when the doctor told you about the cancer?
Ophelia: I told my doctor that God will bring me through this, I felt a calm of peace which came over me.
Shola: I understand that your sister also had cancer how did this make you feel?
Ophelia: I feel we are two special women being used by God.
Shola: Was she supportive?
Ophelia: My sisters and family are very supportive, we come from a strong spiritual guided family who are very firm believers in God.
Shola: That is a blessing because when we are attacked by Satan we have to believe that God is the God that heals thee for Jesus bore 39 stripes for our healing. Did you have radiation treatments?
Ophelia: Yes, I knew it was a part of my treatment and I kept the faith. My right breast turned dark in color. I often was teased that I had a well done and medium rare breasts. I was not a shame to expose my breast to those that asked because I knew I was being healed. My body is a temple of God he created.
Shola: Amen. You are the apple of God’s eye and wonderfully created. What was your first reaction when you found out?
Ophelia: My reaction was at first why me God? But after so many trials God has brought me through I knew he would not leave me or forsake me. I will fight and endure my race to the end.
Shola: How did you find the strength to go through the treatments?
Ophelia: My strength came through prayer and writing poetry. Writing poems about my trips to the clinic and the healing God has done on my body.
Shola: Have you changed your lifestyle since being diagnosed?
Ophelia: Yes I have changed my eating habits, I drink lots of water, I eat all natural products, daily 5 to 10 laps using my treadmill often.
Shola: Did the cancer force you into retirement?
Ophelia: Yes, I had to but by God’s grace I am doing okay with it. I have lymph edema in my right arm and my feet also have nerve damage.
Shola: Sorry to hear that I know it is not easy.
Ophelia: Thank you, no it is not easy, I have to wear closed-toe shoes and circulation in my right hand feels numb most of the time.
Shola: Do you have a lot of pain?
Ophelia: Yes, I am in pain most of the time but it varies from day to day.
Shola: Has this experience changed any of your relationships?
Ophelia: Yes I have a closer walk with God, I read daily scriptures and I am more closer to friends and family.
Shola: That’s great during the trials that we experience in our lives is one good way to determine who the real friends are. What was the primary key to your success?
Ophelia: Keeping the faith don’t give up. Stay STRONG.
Shola: Amen my sister!!! What did friends/family members do or say that meant the most to you?
Ophelia: Praying for me and with me as well as having a positive attitude.
Shola: What is your motivation?
Ophelia: The love of God motivated me to keep pressing on as well as the love of my children, my husband and my beloved grand kids, also the love for LIFE and everything around me.
Shola: How important is it for friends/family members to be with you?
Ophelia: The love and care of my friends and family is very important, it helps me to stay focused.
Shola: Did you learn anything new while going through this?
Ophelia: Oh Yes I learned to NEVER take anything for granted. The activity of our bodies, the love of family or friends, and most of all our relationship with God and the gift of LIFE.
Shola: Ophelia, I would like to thank you for giving us the time to interview with you and sharing your life experience of going through cancer. Can you share with us one of your lovely poems that you had written before we end? I just want to thank you again for this opportunity to interview as well as wishing you continuous success in your healing process as well as with the success of your poems and books.
Change, Courage, Conquer.
A change occurred inside and outside of me one day.
With courage and faith to live breath and take time to pray.
Loving my sisters and brothers in sharing my heart and smile.
With strength to conquer life’s many troubles and trials.
Living in the journey each day I must change to endure.
Courage in his first and last word is true and sure.
One day I will conquer and win my fight in running the race.
A reward I receive when I see my savior’s loving face.
Ophelia Dabney Reese;
Motto: Father, Son, Holy Ghost I live to please.
Cleansed and healed me my soul is set free.
Ophelia Dabney Reese
These sisters of statue with love and lace
Taught me the meaning of kindness and grace.
Each fine sister stood strong and tall,
Press on, dear child, when you are against the wall.
Trials and troubles will get you down.
But in heaven one day I will get a crown.
Sainted Sisters had patience and love in what they meant.
Each sister’s name encouraged their strength.
Sainted sisters I cherished them well.
Anna, Ivella, Lister, Olivia and Nell.
These fine sisters are in glory,
Each generation will live out their story.
Ophelia Dabney Reese
For more information on cancer visit: http://www.cancer.org
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Olushola Anyi Odeh is a contributing writer to Ujima Magazine.
To read about Ophelia’s sister Joy go to http://wp.me/p2i3HZ-Eb1.