Hope can be described as many things — to want something to happen…an expectation…to desire…the list goes on.
As for me, hope simply means to believe.
Brittany Chatman, Jewel McNaughton, Lauren McNaughton (Left to right)
What does it mean to be hooked on hope? It’s quite simple — You are hooked on the belief that everything will be alright. In life, things won’t always turn out the way we expect. I learned that lesson on August 29, 2013, when my mother was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer…2 days before her 49th birthday. I remember it like it was yesterday — I was preparing to head into the office for what I presumed would be a day no different from any other day. I had a huge presentation to make and I arrived early so I could prepare. I sat in my car for a minute, as I usually do before heading into the building.
That’s when she told me —
“They just called me with the biopsy results…and it’s cancer. What do I do now?”
I remember telling her “well…they’ll just take it out and then you’ll be fine”. That was the truest test of hope right there because knowing what I knew about triple-negative breast cancer, I felt like my heart stopped.
I had a feeling that’s what it was after threatening her to make her schedule her mammogram, accompanying her to the screening, and then the biopsy afterward. The way they were looking at the image on the ultrasound alone let me know something wasn’t right. Never mind the fact that she had been walking around with this lump for longer than I care to admit to you all. While I had my suspicions, the feeling I had when it was confirmed — I can hardly put into words.
Once we had some time to process the news, we immediately sprang into solution mode. After all, you can’t move slowly when it comes to triple-negative breast cancer because it is one of the most aggressive, hard-to-treat breast cancers. Some might say the stars aligned or the universe paused to allow the events that would soon follow. We simple say God granted us
Not only did she get her appointments set up quickly but she was placed into the care of Dr. Charles E. Cox…the best breast care surgeon of all time. Dr. Cox’s extensive experience in the breast care field was reassuring enough but there was one more thing that sealed the deal — his faith.
You may be wondering what all of this has to do with being hooked on hope? Allow me to make it all make sense.
10th Hooked on Hope Scrapbook
This past weekend, we attended the 10th anniversary of Hooked on Hope. Hooked on Hope is a local nonprofit organization that has been serving the Tampa Bay Area for the past 10 years. We got connected with Hooked on Hope when my mother became a patient of Dr. Cox five years ago…and that connection was one of the most fulfilling parts of her treatment process. The Pamper Party Hooked on Hope hosts every year for their fighters and survivors (princesses) is an opportunity for these women of honor to be celebrated — as they should be.
Dr. Charles Cox, USF Breast Care Specialists
Pictured above is Dr. Cox addressing all of the princesses and their angels (support systems) in attendance. He drew upon his 34 years of experience in breast care, at times getting emotional and that speaks to how passionate he is about his work. When you can sit back and think about the fact that your efforts such as the technique for Lymphatic Mapping and Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy as well as the Intra-Operative Touch Preparation Cytology have saved so many lives, that’s reason enough to be emotional. In addition to these life-saving techniques that he has trained every breast surgeon in Tampa Bay on, Dr. Cox makes it a point to ensure he is taking care of the emotional and spiritual needs of his patients as well. As he shared with us all on Saturday,
“The point is not how many…it’s how well you take care of them”.
Pamper Party Princesses and Dr. Cox
What happens once you get hooked? You’re in for a day of pampering, relaxation, education, and fun with ladies who have been affected by breast cancer as well. This day of bonding presents an opportunity for celebration and the continuation of healing. This year’s activities included yoga, an insightful forum, a healthy lunch, art therapy, and spa stations.
Hooked on Hope Pamper Party
Aside from being pampered like the princesses they are, breast cancer patients gain the support of Hooked on Hope and all its supporters. Cancer treatment is expensive…very expensive. Therefore, there are times when the treatment and care needed are unaffordable. Hooked on Hope uses resources for uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients in the Tampa Bay Community so they can have access to the following —
- Surgical Instruments for In-Office Minimally Invasive Procedures
- Post-Surgical Breast Garments and breast prosthetics
- Lymphedema Sleeves, Gloves & Garments — which by the way, is not covered by Medicare
- Savi-ScoutⓇ Wire-Free Radar Localization System (Surgical Guidance System)
- SaviⓇ Catheters to Deliver Partial Breast Irradiation
- Financial Support Grants for doctor’s office visit co-payments, hospital co-payment, prescriptions, and living expenses.
Can they be any more amazing???!
Overall, we had an awesome time! You can see more highlights from the event in the gallery below.