Anchors: Ms. Bo Smith

Each month Anchor 6, Inc. will feature two young adults that are surviving and fighting through their chronic illnesses. Anchor 6, Inc. would like to introduce their second “Anchor” of the month, Ms. Bo Smith.

Today, Ms. Bo Smith is sharing her journey of surviving an extremely rare form of breast cancer. Bo was diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) at the age of 29. Bo has an amazing spirit! She is a fighter, and has a will to live! Her story has touched my life personally, and has touched many others as well!

To keep up with Bo, LIKE her page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/teamiloveBOobies/

I was 29 years old, recently engaged, and ready to start a family when I received the most horrific news of my life. I was diagnosed with stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). IBC is an extremely rare breast cancer that has no early diagnosis and is found when the cancer has progressed to stages 3 or 4. I found a lump in my breast, which is usually not a symptom of IBC. I went in to the doctor knowing something was wrong, but tried to remain positive. When I received my diagnosis, I went straight to MD Anderson in Houston, TX. I started chemotherapy every week.

Bo Smith Last Chemo
Bo’s First Chemo Session

I spent 7 months on chemotherapy, with 6 drugs total. It was extremely difficult. I was hospitalized twice for having extremely low blood counts. I received 4 blood transfusions and a platelet transfusion. When my hair started falling out, I cried, then grabbed some clippers and shaved my head. I never let cancer control me. I made sure to always keep the upper hand, even when it seemed impossible to do. After chemo, I had my surgery. I was terrified to lose my breast. I didn’t know how I would feel, or my fiancé. I didn’t want to walk away after all I had been through, and hate my new body. Because my cancer has a high recurrence rate, I am not a candidate for immediate reconstruction, so I would be living with one breast for at least two years. It was one of the most terrifying things I had ever experienced, going into the hospital the morning of my surgery, but once I was out, I went home, stood in front of the mirror and just stared at my new body. I was ok. I then did 44 rounds of radiation. I went twice a day and spent about 20 min each time on the table. Once I finished that, I was done. I was told that I had a complete response to chemo and my pathology report from surgery came back clear. My fight, for now, was over.

1st Chemo
Bo’s Last Chemo Session

Once I was healed, I was able to really look at my new body. A body full of stretch marks, scars and a patch of radiated skin. I feel beautiful and blessed to be in this body. Every day I wake up healthy and cancer free, is a gift to me.

Bo Smith

Anchors: Ms. Lauren McCray

Our organization is far beyond Kermilya and my experiences with Chronic Illnesses.  There are other Young Adults who shall no longer have to live in silence because of their illnesses.  We all need an “Anchor” in our lives to continue to give us hope and determination to continue going on each day.

Today, Ms. Lauren McCray story will be told and shared about her “new” and wonderful life.  Her story is definitely a true testament to “God’s Promises” and how He will always “order our steps” if you believe and trust.  I am so proud of her accomplishments and her story.  Lauren will save many Young Adults who are in silence about their Chronic Illnesses.  We are all in this fight together.

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Lauren’s Social Life can be found on Anchors!

Hello All,

My name is Lauren McCray. I am a native of Gastonia, NC and currently residing in Winston-Salem, NC.  I’m a proud mother of an amazing two-year-old little boy, my pride and absolute joy, Grayson Gabriel.  My mother has always told me that my life had meaning and that I was created for a great purpose and destiny.  Before I was even born my parents almost lost me, when my mom fell down a flight of stairs.  She promised the Lord then that if He saved me that she would give me back to Him… Well it’s safe to say that He kept me and my mother kept her word.  My faith has always kept me even in the hardest of times, but February of this year tested my faith on a level that I have never faced before.  As a private person I normally keep things to myself, but I know that this experience was about way more than just Lauren…. So here we go!

On Super Bowl Sunday my life changed in a way that I never saw coming. I went to church, enjoyed service and then left to grab some last minute items to have at my Super Bowl party.  My son was hungry so after shopping I went to grab him a quick bite to eat.  I got out of my SUV, walked over to his side as I always do and when I went to pick him up, my entire left side went numb, and I felt paralyzed.  My chest was tight and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I knew where I was. I could hear my son calling my name but I was frozen and terrified.  After a few minutes the feeling went away and shortly after I had the worst headache I had ever experienced.  I was really worried but I didn’t tell anyone, I thought that maybe I was just tired or that it was stress induced and I was wrong.

The same thing happened again the next day after I left work and I knew then that something was wrong with me.  I told my family and was advised to go to the hospital.  A few hours in the emergency department with blood work, scans, and other testing turned into a weeklong hospital stay.  I was initially placed on the stroke floor because I exhibited the classic signs of a stroke.  I was the youngest person on the floor.  I was given a full stroke work up, checked for MS, and seizures as well, and the episodes that I was having continued and got worse.  I was told that it could be a range of things from my brain to my heart.  I felt lost…confused…afraid…worried…angry.  No one knew what was wrong with me and I knew that I wasn’t making up how I felt.  Every test that I had done came back negative for what the doctors were looking for.  I was grateful for that in the midst of everything but still frustrated at not having any solid answers.  I cried silent tears every night because I didn’t want to worry my family any more than they already were.  I was given medicines to control the episodes which they thought to be seizures.  I experienced adverse effects to them and almost lost my life due to one of the meds. From there I was transferred to the critical care unit in order to be more closely monitored and by this time I was tired.  I felt like giving up.  I just wanted to know what was wrong with me.  I cried out to God and asked for answers and clarity.  I just wanted to understand what was going on. I was finally diagnosed with a rare disorder called Hemiplegic Migraine Disorder.  The disorder completely affected the left side of my body.  When the doctor began to describe the disorder I was mentally checking off every sign and symptom mentioned because I was experiencing them all.  I was told that I couldn’t drive again until cleared by a doctor, that I would be on medications for the rest of my life to control the episodes, that I would be out of work for a while……my entire life changed.

Once released from the hospital, the episodes continued and my body ached. The migraines were horrible. I could barely walk without someone helping me or a walker…I went to physical therapy….had exercises to do at home…..but I still believed that God was a healer.  From February to April I didn’t feel like myself.  I began learning to adjust to life with this disorder.  I couldn’t do anything quickly anymore and there was even much I couldn’t do for myself at all.  The episodes came out of nowhere and any progress I made through the day was lost with each episode that came. I felt so defeated at times. It was so frustrating but I was surrounded by and amazing support system that kept my prayed up and motivated. I finally got to a point where I could begin to be alone and do some things for myself again, and the episodes even began to slow down some.

On April 11th, I literally pressed my way to to service at my church and my Bishop stopped me during service as he saw me barely walking.  He told me that the Lord made him stop right then and pray for me. He was sensitive to the Spirit and did as he was advised.  As he began to pray for me and speak healing over my life I felt God’s presence in a way that I never have. God with his amazing self was healing me even then.  I literally went from dragging myself into church, to leaping, running, and praising God in a way that I never have. The awesome part is that same day I had gone to see my neurologist for severe headaches that I was still experiencing, and was placed on three more meds in addition to three that I was already taking. Since that night at church I haven’t had a migraine or an episode, I walk normally again, I’m driving and getting back into work….. and I haven’t taken any of those medications! I feel no more pain. No more weakness. No more numbness. No more dizziness. No more sensitivity to light and sound.

God is truly a healer. He keeps His word and He never allows us to go through things that we are not equipped to handle. This experience has increased my faith and taught me to solely lean on Jesus.  I know that it was no one but Him that took this burden away from me and completely healed my body.  I’m determined to share the word that miracles still happen because I am a living witness. I hope that my story will continue to encourage and inspire others that are facing challenges. Below you will find the link to a video I shared the night that I was healed.  Peace and Blessings to each and every one of you.

Lauren.