Acelia McEvers (Grassi)
In Oct 2015, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, HER2+, and prescribed
chemotherapy, followed by surgery. I was terrified of cancer and chemotherapy,
especially because I already had a seriously compromised immune system.
At a young age, I contracted a mild type of polio. I already knew what
it meant to be chronically disabled for years at a time from post-polio
syndrome (PPS). Side effects of chemo could be permanently disabling or,
in extreme cases, life-threatening. The thought of being helpless and
disabled again frightened me as much as the cancer. My determination to
maintain a strong immune system helped me through chemo and surgery, but
mostly it was my Pink Stars. I also called them my Jedi Knights—all
the people who made my battle their battle. They are the best loving army
in the world.
From November 2015 through the end of February 2016, I had six rounds of
chemotherapy every 3 weeks. They consisted of hard chemo drugs, taxotere
and carboplatin, along with infusions of the biologics Herceptin and Perjeta.
Herceptin infusions continued through November 2016.
After I completed chemotherapy, my oncologists immediately approved me
for a major surgical procedure. We were ecstatic! Usually one must wait
for the immune system to recover before having surgery. Still, the longer
the wait, the more time the dreaded cancer has to return. To my complete
surprise, these highly experienced doctors christened me the first they
had seen this healthy after such harsh chemo. They asked me to help others
and share what I did. One-on-one sharing worked well, but it was labor-intensive.
As a result,
https://AcesPink.org was created. This website/blog truly represents who I am and my journey
to surviving breast cancer. Ace, which is short for Acelia, is a nickname
given to me by mother, and it stuck. Gotta love mothers. Thus, the name
of my website: Aces Pink. We’re all Aces in this fight.
I chose a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Doctors and nurses
who saw me a few days and weeks after surgery (no make-up) were positive
I had postponed my surgery. Once again, to my surprise, as well as their
shock, I responded far better than average, giving me another reason to
share my story.
Currently, I am cancer-free, with no evidence of disease. And still ecstatic!
From the outset, Foshay Cancer Center, Jupiter Medical Center’s
nurse navigators and the Living with Breast Cancer support group were
extremely helpful. I also feel blessed to have exceptional, caring doctors.
In addition to maintaining my blog, I make turquoise jewelry, “Wear
Your Heavens,” as a fundraiser for breast cancer. The designs are
unique, one-of-a-kind necklaces, based on the stars and the day you were
born, and decorated with semi-precious gemstones. The stars represent
‘Pink Stars on Earth,’ the people who love and support you
through your battle. We’re all Pink Stars!
In Memory: A few hours before I began painting my chair, a beloved family
member died of cancer. I painted a rose on my chair for Geraldine, in
memory of her courage and her kindness in standing by her loved ones,
as they, too, stood by her with love. It really brings it home to the
heart why we do this. Love never ends.
Message to other women:
Find your Pink Stars. Love them. Loving others is just as healing as being
loved. Perhaps more. Think happy thoughts; be kinder to yourself, kinder
again and laugh often; watch only happy television shows and comedies;
listen to happy music; and pray gladly. Mayo Clinic endorses prayer, saying
it is relaxing to 80 percent of cancer clients. If you haven’t the
strength, find others who will pray for you.
Do what uplifts you, have faith in goodness, feel thankful. If it’s
difficult, remember simply searching for things to feel grateful for is
enough to uplift your spirits.
If your loved ones live far away or have passed away (often the case, like
mine), search harder, don’t quit. Find breast cancer support groups.
Many attending these groups are 10- or 20-year survivors. They want to
help you. Remember, caring about you helps them stay healthy, too. Hospitals
like Jupiter Medical Center have nurse navigators to assist and guide you.
Start, too, with your doctors. Their aim is to save your life – a
Pink Star if ever there was one. Include the doctors’ staff, PA’s,
nurses, nutritionists, phlebotomists, schedulers, financial advisors and
receptionists. Many cancer organizations offer free services, volunteers
Watch your heavens light up star by star. Taken altogether, these stars make up
the world’s best army fighting with you for your life.
Bravo at Harbourside Place
149 Soundings Ave
Jupiter, FL 33477