Nedra Groggins-Sage says nothing can hold her back from singing—not even breast cancer.
Groggins-Sage, who is involved in World Beat Connection and other missionary organizations to spread her faith and lend her voice for praise, relocated to Cincinnati in 2010 for work.
"I didn’t really enjoy Cincinnati, but now I know I was put here for a reason,” she says, as two years later, she noticed a large lump under her arm which brought her to the UC Cancer Institute and UC Health breast specialists. "At first, they just thought it was a cyst. However, the day I was diagnosed, I remember sitting in the waiting room and hearing the song, ‘Waiting on the World to Change.’
"They called me back and read me the results: It was cancer. I cried, and they hugged me, and then, I remembered that song and thought, ‘My world has changed, but I’m not going to let this beat me down.’”
She had a rarer form of cancer, says Jaime Lewis, MD, surgical oncologist with the institute who helped care for Groggins-Sage.
"We did several breast biopsies, but we couldn’t find out its origin. We only found cancer in her right axillary lymph nodes,” she says, adding that precancerous cells were found in the left breast.
Groggins-Sage began chemotherapy, which made her feel bad, but that still didn’t stop her as she traveled to Jamaica and beyond, singing and praising.
To help with coping, she also began writing a blog which has touched thousands of people who are also battling breast cancer.
"I was inspiring people from as far across the globe as the Netherlands and Russia,” she says.
However, the therapy wasn’t working, and it was impacting her quality of life.
"In August 2013, I had a double mastectomy and removal of my right lymph nodes, after much deliberation,” she says, adding that her "readers” supported her and kept her optimistic. "Now, I’m cancer free.
"My physician team at the UC Cancer Institute was fantastic, and I really couldn’t ask for better doctors—or people—to handle my care. Besides helping me through all of these hurdles, they laughed and cried with me—now, I’m glad I live in Cincinnati.
"Most of all, with help from the team and my God, I can continue to use my voice to inspire and encourage people for years to come.”
This story was in the December 2013 issue of Connected.