Transforming pain into power: a breast cancer survivor’s journey

“You have breast cancer.”

Four words no one ever wants or expects to hear, but this year alone almost 300,000 women will hear this news according to American Cancer Society estimates

It’s a diagnosis Jackie Cromity has received not once, not twice, but three times in her life. 

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer for the third time – after being cleared of the disease twice already,” Cromity says. “And I found my cancer two of the three times – not doctors, or mammograms or ultrasounds. I just knew something was wrong.”

It doesn’t discriminate against age, race, or gender identity, and it certainly doesn’t press pause on jam-packed personal or professional lives. For Jackie who was initially diagnosed in 2013, her third cancer diagnosis came as she was busy raising her two children, overseeing a global team in a senior management role at Cisco (which she’s still leading today), and tackling a challenging course load while finishing her Jenkins MBA degree. She found support in her faith, family, professors and manager, who she disclosed her diagnosis to in confidence. She specifically asked that she not be treated any differently, nor have her workload reduced. 

“It definitely had its challenges, obviously…but it was very empowering because I was refusing to allow chemo to conquer my life,” she says. “I remember when I was done with all of my treatments, did radiation every day for about 45 days and completed everything. That’s when I informed my team that I was sick because I didn’t want a lot of phone calls. I didn’t want anybody to treat me differently. I didn’t want the long faces because I knew within myself that I was going to beat this with the Lord’s help. I was encouraged that with the right medical staff, with my family on my side, that everything was going to be right.”

In the course of her own treatment and recovery, Jackie discovered firsthand the sad reality that most specialty shops lack the diversity of the essential products required to meet the needs of cancer patients who are making their way through the multiple stages of the treatment lifecycle. 

The pivotal moment that prompted her to take action? A celebratory selfcare trip to the nail salon after she was deemed cancer-free for the third time. With her hands outstretched, excited for her manicure, Jackie instantly noticed the expression on the technician’s face: hesitation. Her heart sank in her chest as she stared down at her black nail beds. A largely undiscussed treatment side-effect, some cancer patients’ nails take on a bruised appearance, turning various shades of black, brown, purple, blue or green. Instead of relaxing and enjoying her spa service, Jackie instead found herself explaining her personal medical history and reassuring the technician that it was safe to proceed.

“In that moment I felt very small and I’m thinking to myself, this is so unfair. Why am I feeling embarrassed after fighting for my life? And I’m sitting here getting my nails done and I’m sitting in the marketplace embarrassed. That’s what birthed the Survivor Friendly initiative.” 

Vowing to reduce the number of breast cancer patients faced with confusing insurance claim issues, a lack of resources and support, in 2018 she decided to create the solution she had been looking for. Survivor Friendly acts as a one-stop-shop for cancer patients and survivors designed to meet individual needs with grace to help survivors overcome everyday challenges in an uplifting, modern, and friendly environment. 

Today, Survivor Friendly has six different locations where people can find durable medical equipment (DME), quality-of-life essentials, breast cancer education and support. Affiliated with Duke Cancer Institute and Novant Health, Survivor Friendly is a testimony to Jackie’s passion for turning her own challenges into other people’s strengths. 

MBAchic caught up with Jackie to discuss her cancer journey, why she would encourage other women to pursue their MBA if they’re considering starting their own businesses, how she navigated her diagnosis while managing a global team, and the most important takeaways she hopes to share with anyone else who finds themselves on the receiving end of those four words. 

Read the full transcription below:

MBAchic (00:03):

Hi everyone. My name is Torri Singer. I’m a reporter for MBAchic. We are very pleased and honored to be joined today by Jackie Cromity. She’s an MBA Senior manager at Cisco and the founder of Survivor Friendly. Jackie, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. 

Jackie Cromity (00:20):

Oh, no, thank you Torri, for the invite. I’m happy to be here. 

MBAchic (00:24):

Well, Jackie, we have a lot of ground to cover today, but I want to start out with a little bit of background on you and then we’re gonna really launch into Survivor Friendly. You currently serve as senior manager at Cisco, and I know that you oversee other managers as part of a global team, which comes with a lot of weight and a lot of responsibility. But I wanted to focus on how you received your initial breast cancer diagnosis back in 2013. I know that  occurred after your annual visit and your doctor said everything was fine. You actually discovered the cancer yourself. I’d love it if you could speak to this. I think it’s so important for other women to understand your journey. 

Jackie Cromity (01:07):

Oh, absolutely. So I was always had a heightened awareness of breast cancer. So in my twenties, because I was so young, I wasn’t eligible for mammograms. So I was already getting ultrasounds every year at Mayo Clinic, when I was living in Minnesota, when I came to North Carolina, it was a different requirement, they said every two years because I have never had cancer prior, even though I had a history in my family because my mom died of breast cancer when I was eight years old. So I went to the doctor for my typical annual for insurance. And they did a self check, and said I didn’t need to get an ultrasound because it was in between those two years. They checked everything and said they didn’t feel anything and I had a clean bill of health. 30 days later, can’t tell you why, I was in the shower and did a self check and I felt something that just didn’t sit right with me. And, I told my husband about it, but I said, ah, I can’t do anything. I just saw the doctor.  It could be just, you know, maybe, the density of my breast tissue. So I paid no attention to it. Honestly, I just felt that God was telling me something wasn’t right. And so that led me to go get a mammogram. I’ll tell you, I contacted the radiologist and said, Hey, I want to get a mammogram. I think I felt something. And do you not know they wouldn’t schedule me because they said a diagnostic mammogram had to be written by a doctor. You had to be referred by a doctor. 


So I said, Okay, I tell you what, just give me a regular mammogram. So that’s what he did. And then not even 24 hours later I got a phone call and they said they saw two cancerous tumors and I needed to do a biopsy. So I proceeded, got the biopsy and lo and behold I was between stage three and four, triple negative breast cancer and I was diagnosed with cancer. So that’s how I found out it was through me doing self checks and it resulted in me finding out that I had breast cancer. 

MBAchic (03:03):

Wow. Thank you for sharing that. I think it’s so important to have a message of personal advocacy. I mean, you hear it all the time, you feel it day to day, but your story is a perfect example of you feeling something was wrong and you followed up and you pursued it.

Jackie Cromity (03:17):

Oh, absolutely. You have to be your own advocate. And through my tenure journey with cancer I was my advocate. And you know what, I remember when I got a diagnosis, I called my dad, I told my husband, you know, he prayed with me and said, You know, everything’s gonna be alright. We’re gonna be with you. And then I went into fight mode, literally I dried those tears up like, Look, okay, I’m ready to fight this thing. I said to myself, not only was I gonna fight the cancer, but I’m gonna fight changing my lifestyle. And I made a decision that was for me, that’s not for everybody, but for me, I wanted to continue to work. So I kind of formed my own oncology team because remember I had just not too long ago got here in North Carolina and I didn’t have a medical team that I could just turn to. 


So literally I had to go on the internet, do some research. And when I informed my manager at the time at Cisco, she informed me she had breast cancer before and referred me to her oncologist. I tried to call her because she was really well known in her research in young women having breast cancer, so I really wanted her. But they said she was booked up all the way into the next year. I was not gonna give up. I contacted her nurse practitioner, told her my story, and they got me in. And lo and behold, she became my oncologist. I got Dr. Toner, She was an excellent surgeon. And the rest is history. I proceeded with getting a lumpectomy and started my chemo treatment, which included very potent Taxol. 


I’ll tell you that was some strong chemo, but my first time that I got my treatment, I’ll never forget, I called Duke and I said, Listen, I need to go talk to an immunization specialist, so that I can get the right immunization shots that won’t counter the medicine because I need to go to India. They looked at me like I was crazy. I said, Listen, I worked a couple years convincing the management staff on a very important project that I need the buy-in for in funding and I need to get to India. And lo and behold, after my first treatment, I went on a plane and went to India. You know, it definitely had its challenges, obviously, having chemo and then going to another country. 


But it was very empowering because I was refusing to allow chemo to conquer my life. And I’ll tell you I remember when I was done with all of my treatments, did radiation every day for about 45 days and completed everything. That’s when I informed my team that I was sick because I didn’t want a lot of phone calls. I didn’t want anybody to treat me differently. I didn’t want the long faces because I knew within myself that I was going to beat this with the Lord’s help. I was encouraged that with the right medical staff, with my family on my side, that everything was going to be right. I’ll never forget when I finished my last treatment, I was walking out the door and a nurse called me back and said, Jackie, come here. 


And she handed me this little picture, like somebody handcrafted, and it was an inspirational saying. I think I broke down at that moment. I said, we have got to create this same sort of experience for somebody else to help them when they are going through this treatment and being diagnosed with cancer.  That started the thought process behind Survivor Friendly. What really drove the initial non-profit, and why I started the entire mission after everything I just explained to you.


I finally was able to get my nails done because during treatment, your immune system is compromised so you cannot go out and get those type of services. I went to the nail shop, sat down, and I noticed the lady was hesitant in actually doing my nails. Now mind you, a lot of people are aware of the side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. I thought I was well aware, well versed just based on my family history. And I also mentioned my mom passing away, but also my father had prosthetic cancer for 24 years and he recently passed away. He had pancreatic cancer. He elevated the pancreatic cancer during a pandemic, but nevertheless, I was kind of familiar with the side effects of cancer  just because of my family history. I didn’t know though that my nails would turn Jet Black, I had no clue. I knew about the wig because that was the first thing I got done was getting a wig. <laugh> when I was going through my treatment, but I didn’t even think about my eyebrows falling out. My lashes changing, getting swollen because of all of the medicine, the shots that you had to take after your chemo treatment just to get the good blood cells coming back that the chemo actually destroyed. So kind of going through all of those different side effects all simultaneously I was ready for that moment of Oasis, right? I sit down, I’m ready to get my nails done. She was hesitant. 


And then I realize she doesn’t know why my nails are black and she may think this is a fungus or she may think this is contagious. So here I am in a nail shop disclosing my personal information to a stranger. And I have to tell you, Torri, that moment I think out of all of that journey I just told you I went through and it had its moments, but overall I was strengthened through it. And I was positive through it and I felt like the Lord gave me the strength to go through it. But at that moment I felt very small and I’m thinking to myself, this is so unfair. Why am I feeling embarrassed after fighting for my life? And I’m sitting here getting my nails done and I’m sitting in the marketplace embarrassed. That’s what birthed the Survivor Friendly initiative. 

MBAchic (09:25):

Wow. Well thank I just so much to share and I appreciate that context, that experience. Specifically I wanted to cover with you that the nail experience, because I know that was a moment of self care and celebration and it kind of was squashed in that instance of you feeling small, and I know you don’t want other women or men who have breast cancer, of course to experience that feeling that you felt. So I know that was one of your inspirations behind Survivor Friendly. So, you founded Survivor Friendly in 2018 and I wanted you to kind of delve into for our audience, I know you did a research project at NC State and you kind of wanted to gauge, are other women experiencing some of the difficulties finding items after their diagnosis and insurance headaches as you were experiencing, and you wanted to see what other women were experiencing and they were experiencing very similar experiences as you were. So talk about that and how Survivor Friendly really came to fruition then in 2018. 

Jackie Cromity (10:28):

Yeah, absolutely. So once we started the initiative we actually already had a 501C3. So we started a project under it called Survivor Friendly. And the idea was to educate the marketplace on the side effects that  chemo treatment one can experience so that when people come into their place of business, that when they go back and and assimilate back into the employment it will take out that unconscious shock factor that sometimes people have when they see people that look a little different. So that was the purpose. What was interesting to me was as I was kind of going back trying to get back to a life with normalcy, I realized insurances didn’t cover a lot of things. 


So for instance, I mentioned my eyebrows not growing back, so I went and got a bottle of Latisse and Vitalash and those bottles are over a hundred something dollars. Then I all of a sudden started wearing makeup, which I wasn’t accustomed to doing because I was trying to supplement  these things that I had lost and that started adding up. Luckily I was still working and I could afford it, but I knew a lot of people couldn’t. So we started stuffing bags with those essentials that were needed. Then we distributed them to different cancer centers all across the United States. We still do that today. That is what we’ve been doing for a number of years, over five years with Survivor Friendly. Now, how we evolved to where we are today was when I was clinically declared cancer free from my chemo treatment and my lumpectomy I decided to get a breast reduction so that I can be even, have some symmetry in my chest area where I originally had the lumpectomy where they removed tissue and therefore it reduces your breast size. 


So I went to a plastic surgeon to have that done. My oncology team said, Wait a minute before you do that, let us check you. And they checked me, clean bill of health. Lo and behold, one of the plastic surgeons did the surgery, reducing the breast that I didn’t have cancer in before to match the one that I did. Because of my history, he sent it off to a lab just to make sure everything was okay, and it came back with cancer. That story within itself is a lot of miracles that I’ll skip and fast forward through. But what I will say is, I wound up getting a double mastectomy and implants put in in the same surgery. Went through that journey. What I found that was interesting was the same process and fight that I had with insurance to not only get what they call gap exceptions, and that is when you can’t find a provider within 30 miles within your house. 


And that was the rules for my provider. They’re all different insurance and have different rules, but for my particular insurance provider within 30 miles, you can get what they call a gap exception to find somebody that offered the services and they would treat them as an in-network provider. Well, I was frustrated because I had a fight with insurance to continue to go through that process and then find somebody while trying to battle through, getting back to my health. Still continue to, to move on with life and at that time, I was actually in a process of getting my MBA. I always had a knack for business, having been in corporate for over 22 years. I’ve always had different side businesses from real estate, to retail shops and things of that nature. 


I’ve always had an interest in business, even in my career. So I wanted to enhance that by getting an MBA and developing a little bit more awareness around finance, understanding the nomenclature, just a number of things I wanted to get from that. So I was going through my MBA while all this was happening, still working and still taking my children to school. I went through that surgery, we get towards the end of the surgery and I did a self check, mind you I had implants in again, declared cancer free, and they found tumors actually in both breasts when they took it out and took it to the lab, and then obviously took out my lymph nodes. 


I was declared cancer free and went on through that process and I was this close to being done. I did a self check, felt something that didn’t feel right, called my doctor. They were very nonchalant about it because they were like, Hey, you don’t have breasts so <laugh>, it’s probably just from the surgery. Well, lo and behold, I went to the doctor, they did all of the tests, came back yet another tumor, and this time it metastasized to my lymph nodes, had to have yet another double mastectomy and went through chemo again. This time I couldn’t finish my chemo because my organs were shutting down for various reasons. And so they had to stop it and, and then just perform the surgery. But luckily, well, not luckily, praise the Lord, there was no cancer found when they took out both my lymph nodes and my tumors. But this is how Survivor Friendly evolved, because when that happened, now I find myself in a place where I have to get prosthesis because I couldn’t get implants in at that time, right? I just had them taken out. I didn’t know prosthesis, what <laugh>, you know, when you go through cancer, you get this book, of all these resources, <laugh>, and then all this information flying at you. I’m pretty good about absorbing information, but listen, there’s only so much you can retain at that point when you’re hurting and you’re in pain and you got all this stuff going in one ear and out the other.  


You’re going to retain only what you need for that moment, right? So here I am going to try to find a boutique that has these prostheses I walk in, right? It was extremely quick <laugh>. It was almost like, okay, what do you want? Here’s your prosthesis. Quick. Okay, you want these? Here I am with two pink <laugh> prosthesis, right? And a couple of bras. And I go home, okay? And I figure, oh man, this is life now, right? Trying to adjust to that. I thought to myself, my gosh, this is so unfair. <laugh> There has got to be right. I have pretty good insurance. I’m not rich, but I got a couple of coins that I can buy what I need. And even that didn’t make a difference. There were no resources for me. And I’ll never forget, I was in a mirror one day and I had a tank top on, and I don’t like to wear my prosthesis in the pockets. 


And the pockets are just sewn into the bra so they can hold the prosthesis in place. I don’t have it in the pockets. And I just happened to be in the bathroom and noticed the prosthesis was sticking out. Nobody told me. So I said, I don’t have any friends <laugh>, but here I am with a pink prosthesis sticking up in my chest and I’m walking around like this. So this is crazy. So I went to NC State, I was in my last year of school, or actually last semester. And in that semester I had to do  a research project. So I convinced my colleagues at the time, can we do a research project and just find out, here’s my experience, are other people experiencing this? We interviewed over a hundred women and you literally wouldn’t believe the stories of women of all walks of life, all economical backgrounds, not just ethnicity. 


Because at first I thought it was just about me being a black woman and couldn’t find something that looked like me. But when we got the data back from our research, it was overwhelming. 99% of the respondents said that not only couldn’t they find what they needed, they felt the insurance was hard to navigate and they couldn’t find the resources they needed, but 98% of the respondents were white women. And I said, This is not an ethnicity issue. Even though you can argue that, you know, obviously if it’s, if it’s bad for the, for white women then it’s even worse for those who are a minority, right? Right. But this was a pervasive issue. This is a big problem. So that’s when I started doing research into the DME and trying to understand interviewing different boutiques. 


And what I notice is when the pandemic hit, there were several problems. Number one, a lot of women who were doing this type of service were aging out. And number two, they didn’t have the finances to withstand what was happening in the pandemic. So shops were closing and I said, Oh my gosh, we have to do something. Where are these women gonna go? Are they gonna go to CVS and go look at a magazine and say, give me this? Or are they gonna call an 800 number and order up a pair of tatas? I was like, this cannot happen. So we in a leap of faith purchased a building in Cary, my sidekick, Stacy, she helped me. We sat down, we put together the business plans, we worked with insurance, we went through all the accreditations. 


I went and became CMF certified, went through BLC accreditation, and we did all that and by January, February timeframe from October to February, we were a fully pledged licensed dme, board of pharmacy, North Carolina board of  Pharmacy, licensed DME, ACHC certified. We were able to help women come in, provide an environment that not only will educate women,  but also give them the opportunity to have variety despite the ceiling that we had to dance around, that insurance put on us as a result of these contracted rates. In every one of our facilities, we have what we call the blessing room. So people, even if they don’t have insurance, I made it my duty, I said, If anybody walks through those doors, they will be serviced. And that’s what we do with our partnership with Pretty and Pink every facility. We started out with one, and now we’re in six locations across North Carolina, including Duke Cancer Centers in both Raleigh and Durham. 


We are in Novant Health in Thomasville, once a month. And then we have our own facilities that we own, in Cary, Shelby and Winston and I get calls every day from other states and other places where they have Oasis, that exists where there’s no place for people to go that have the experience that I have. So that is how we evolved, still have our foundation, and we still give, but we create a safe place for women to come and to feel whole again because it is definitely a journey and it’s something that words cannot describe you just you have to experience it. So a lot of our people in our staff are survivors themselves. So they add that extra touch to the conversation. And they help bring people through that process. 

MBAchic (21:28):

Thank you so much for sharing that. Your life needs to be made into a movie one of these days. I dunno how I’ll help you get there some way. I’m so inspired. I I know our audience will be as well. You’re a fighting spirit. I know you have a very strong faith as well. I wanted to point out how important it was that you were authentic with your manager initially. Going back to your initial diagnosis, you brought that information, you were forthcoming with something very personal and that wound up resulting in you getting a recommendation for an oncologist that wound up being integral to you fighting this, which is, I think, a really important message. Can you talk about pursuing your MBA after you had been diagnosed again and you’re pursuing your MBA, you’re working full time, you’re taking care of your family. How did your MBA help you to further fuel that entrepreneurial spirit that you had? Talk about that. 

Jackie Cromity (22:35):

Absolutely. So like I said, I have a lot of experience, just on the job training, right? Setting up EBOs and things like that at IBM, at Cisco. So I have learned a lot just from my job. But what the MBA brought to the table was how to do research, how to network, how to bring all that information together and create a thriving business. My conversation with my manager was very strategic and I was very open and honest and said, I don’t want my job to change. I don’t want you to tell anybody. I gave her my parameters. I don’t want it announced. Don’t hold back anything. Treat me like you do anybody else. That was important to me. I think that communication and being upfront and honest is important. 


I realize everybody doesn’t have that. There’s a number of people that have actually lost their job as a result of having to go to treatment. So I find that, it’s just a matter of educating the marketplace. I think the MBA was extremely important because like I said, it gave me the tools to help navigate a very different complex global environment that we have to work through from contract negotiation to logistics, right? Of things that we have to get shipped, how to, you know, um, manage your customer base, how do you target your messaging and your marketing? Just all those different components that when you work in a corporate environment, you normally have people who wear different hats that help bring all that together whereas when you are an entrepreneur, you wear all those hats, 


because you don’t normally have the budget to bring all those people together. So I think the MBA helped prepare me for that. They were very supportive. I did not take any kind of sabbatical except for one time, one semester I had to sit out. In my job I didn’t take a sabbatical except for one month because one of the side effects of chemotherapy is chemo brain. I always said to myself that if I could not produce, then I would not go to work. I was forgetting things. It is a real side effect, it is not a fairytale. I was literally forgetting things. So I would say that is how it really helped me. Even to this day, we just recently did a research project with NC State on how we could do more virtual fittings for people who don’t have a boutique close to them, but we can get the precision in the measurements. So we make sure that we send them the right garment. So again, I’m forever indebted to NC State, and the process of research is really important. Gut is great, but you’ve got to have data to back it up. So yeah, that’s probably the answer I’ll give for that. 

MBAchic (25:19):

So important and a good takeaway for anyone listening who’s maybe thinking about pursuing it or, or on the fence. But I appreciate that. So I wanna cover a couple more points before our time runs out. Yeah. I know that Jackie, you’re very aware of pink washing and I know you’re very aware of advocating for education beyond just breast cancer awareness month. Yeah. Because, you know, it doesn’t discriminate what month you might find out that this is something that’s a part of your life, right? So what, what is your message to women out there or men, uh, you know, during breast cancer awareness month and beyond? 

Jackie Cromity (25:53):

Yeah, I mean, the main thing is health is wealth. I heard that saying recently and you know, I’m really sticking that to heart, not just with breast cancer, but my health overall. Make sure you’re doing your self checks. I’ll tell you, out of the three times that I was diagnosed, I found two of them and my plastic surgeon found the second one. So the MRI missed it, the mammogram missed it, and the professionals that did the performed checks, they missed it. So you are the best detector. Be your own advocate, despite me telling you six tumors that I have been able to survive talking to you today. Last year I did a video on this where I felt something that didn’t feel right. Do you not know I had a hard time getting a doctor appointment with my oncologist because they didn’t think that it was critical or urgent and I had to call somebody that knew somebody to get me in so that I could just be seen. 


The top, the takeaway for me is definitely do your self checks. Make sure you do your mammograms. I know you know that machine sometimes push the tatas a little tight, they hurt, but it’s worth it because your survival rate goes up significantly if your breast cancer is found early. Then be an advocate. Do your homework, and if you can’t understand some of the terminology and some of the information your doctors are giving you, bring in a friend, bring in a family member, Google. Google is my best friend. Go open a book. There’s a lot of good literature in books that you can read that really break down terminology into layman’s terms, so you can understand. And then the last thing is, if you are a woman who is faced with cancer make sure you know what your options are before you rush into a decision. 


Cancer doesn’t grow overnight. If you go and look at all the studies and the data, you can go talk to your oncologist about this. It typically takes a while for it to grow. So you don’t have to make a decision tomorrow. Unless there’s something urgent that your oncologist or your doctor need you to make that decision at that time. But overall, you make the right decision for you because what typically is not discussed is these long term side effects. I will forever have lymphedema unless a miraculous miraculous miracle happens. I’m swollen, my arm, jackets I can’t even wear, I have to wear sleeves and I have a pump because the fluid is conjugated in areas because of my lymph nodes being removed. I will forever have to deal with that. 


Unless I graph skin from my stomach and build breasts again, I will forever have to deal with prosthesis. For the rest of my life, I will always have to get specialty clothes. If I want to go swimming, I just can’t go and swim. I will ever have to go get a swim form and get specialty clothes to be able to still do the things I enjoy. I don’t say that with a violin playing in the background because I’m sad, but I’m just saying that that’s a reality. So as you’re making these decisions, make sure they are informed decisions. So then you won’t have this shock at the end when you realize, oh, snap, I’m alive, but now I’m miserable because I didn’t realize these five things that have to be altered in my life as a result of my treatment. 

MBAchic (29:07):

Thank you for sharing that. I think that’s so important because I think that’s another aspect that people don’t always consider. And I think that your organization is helping bring to light those real conversations. This is the reality, this is the real day to day that we face and that support is so integral. Do you have any last messages to women out there or men who are currently experiencing a diagnosis, who are navigating this, who are in those trenches, anything that you’d like to share, especially working during your experience and pursuing your MBA and caring for your family. You wear so many different hats and I feel like you lend a lot of inspiration to a lot of people.

Jackie Cromity (29:51):

I would say think what’s best for you. I’ll often find people trying to either mimic or take the advice of others. It’s amazing the advice you get from people who haven’t been through it. I would say do what’s right for you. I know it sounds simple, It’s not anything deep. If you need to take a week off, a month off, two months off, go do that. If you need your friends around every day bringing you soup because that makes you feel better, do that. If you want to go out on a vacation because you just need a break, go do that too. If you want to tell your doctors, Okay, look, this radiation is too much, I need to take a break, go do that. My point of what I’m trying to say is, you be active. 


Don’t just go through the motions. You be active in your care, your decisions, your life and don’t be ashamed of that. Don’t be ashamed and feel like you’ve got to tell everybody what’s going on in your life and don’t be ashamed if you feel like you want to tell everybody. What I’m trying to say is just do what’s best for you while you’re going through your treatment. I find that people fair much differently or much better when they do that versus trying to do what they think is the right thing as they’re dealing with their illness. And the main thing, I have to throw this in here, just pray. Don’t lose your faith. If you are up another day, you’re still living, there’s still another opportunity and yeah, I know it’s tough. 


I know you have those days. Yes, you will have those thoughts. The key is just don’t live in them, don’t stay there. You have to fight them with positive thoughts. For me it was scripture that helped me get up the next day and keep fighting. They told my husband and I, we could not have children and I’ll never forget this was at the heels of me finishing all my chemo. We went to the mountains, I’m feeling nauseated and I’m thinking it’s the medication residue from that, lo and behold, we had baby Isaiah and he came out just as healthy. So see, life you can’t give up, right? Nobody has the exact answer, but God, so stay positive, be around positive people, but mainly do what’s best for you. 

MBAchic (32:19):

Thank you so much, Jackie. I appreciate that and I’m really excited to share this with our audience. 

Jackie Cromity (32:25):

Perfect. No, thank you Torri, for the opportunity. 

breast cancer awareness month

Photo from Angiola Harry

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