The Valdosta Daily Times
When the Times published an appeal for breast cancer survivor’s to tell their stories, we were immediately contacted by Karen Gordon of AmeriMed. Gordon wanted to share the story of Valerie Moye, who she calls, “a precious lady and such an inspiration to us all.”
Moye agreed to share her story, and wrote down her thoughts to share with others. She also recently participated in the Pink Day luncheon with a good friend and organizer Lawanna Barron, who is also currently undergoing treatments.
In her words:
Imagine that you were riding on the fastest Amtrak train there is and all of a sudden, the conductor comes on the intercom stating that there is an emergency and the train is fixing to derail. Well, on May 1, 2012 at age 39, my life was derailed due to the emergency diagnosis of “breast cancer.” On Feb. 29, 2012, I had a hysterectomy due to cervical cancer. While in the hospital in Feb. 2012 for the hysterectomy, the IV infiltrated the left arm, causing it to swell very big. After being discharged from the hospital, the arm continued to swell for several weeks off and on, and six weeks later, I noticed a lump in the left breast with swelling in both ankles and the left arm.
I went to see my primary care physician Dr. Brian Griner and when I arrived at the office, I saw Nurse Practitioner Katie Miner. She examined the breast and immediately stated to me that she did not like the feel of it, and she stepped out of the room to talk to Dr. Griner. She asked if I’d ever had a mammogram before and I said yes, back in 2011, but I was told it was fibrocystic breast disease.
I was scheduled for a mammogram the next day and while waiting on the appointment time to arrive, I was praying and hoping for the best even though I knew I wouldn’t know the result until 24 hours later. I was at work when Dr. Griner called me himself, so I knew immediately something was wrong and it was. He said the mammogram was abnormal and that I needed to see a surgeon within the next 24 hours! Not the news I wanted to hear, but at the same time, I began to pray asking God to give me peace while two of my co-workers cried and comforted me at the same time.
Reporting to Dr. Harvey Miller the next day, he performed a breast exam and found another mass. He recommended an immediate biopsy, which I underwent the next Monday and on Tuesday at his office, the results were that the lumps were positive for cancer. Being told at that time I was most likely at Stage 2 breast cancer, I was told I needed a mastectomy. However, I’d had two pulmonary embolisms in my lungs in 2002 and nearly died, and was a high risk for any type of surgery.
The doctors monitored my medication, and on May 24, 2012, I had a left mastectomy and 19 lymph nodes removed, with all 19 coming back positive for cancer. I was then diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer and reported to the Pearlman Cancer Center two weeks later to see Dr. Eric Anderson, who told me the results of my PET scan showed that the cancer had spread to both lungs, and my diagnosis was changed again, to Stage 4 breast cancer.
While taking my first chemo treatment, I began to pray harder, crying out to God to have mercy on me! Every time I would pray, I always believed that God heard my prayer and I believed in my heart I would be healed. After several treatments, I had a repeat PET scan that showed the chemo was working and there were only four spots of the original 100 left in my lungs. I know that God is a healer and he has all power and I am determined I am coming out of this situation because I refuse to stay here.
I attend the Greater Mount Calvary Church on Whitewater Road under the leadership of Dr. Charles E. Vinson and Lady Evelyn Vinson, who have been with me and my family every step of the way.
I am the proud daughter of two lifelong Valdosta natives, Walter and Johnnie Ruth Hunter, and I’m married to Todd A. Moye, and the mother of two beautiful children, Tolerie, age 11, and Todd, age 7. I am the daughter in law of James and Mary Moye of Valdosta. I am employed as a pediatric nurse at South Georgia Pediatric and Allergy and they have been very good to me and understanding. Being an only child after losing my one and only brother to bone cancer is quite hard sometimes, but I am so blessed to have a family I can count on.
I have learned to live each day to the fullest as if it was my last, still smiling everyday and Thanking God for another chance at life. Staying surrounded by positive minded people, through all of this, I often tell my family and friends, “Don’t worry about Val. I am going to be okay!”
I didn’t go looking for cancer, but cancer found me and since it found me, I am going to fight it with a smile and win. Your body believes every word you say. I believe that God is preparing me for something bigger and better in my life. My train derailed for a short period of time but when the conductor (God) gets ready for the train to get back on the tracks, he will do just that! I am and will be another breast cancer survivor!