Sorry, you need to install flash to see this content.

Living in Faith

Paulette Johnson battles breast cancer with a positive outlook.

When Paulette Johnson was diagnosed with stage IIB breast cancer, she saw it as a blessing.

"I was thankful that God had given me this challenge ... I had never taken challenges in my life lightly," Johnson said.

At the time of her surgery, the cancer had already spread to 19 of her lymph nodes. Instead of brooding about her prognosis and the looming statistics, she shoved her black clothes to the back of her closet and replaced the hangers with a colorful wardrobe.

Photo: Megan Lange
Paulette Johnson and her husband, Oliver.

"Black, for me, signified a funeral ... I've always tried to look on the bright side," Johnson said, laughing.

While Johnson attempted to maintain a positive demeanor, her nightmares would reveal her true feelings.

"I would have these awful dreams, and I guess my frustration and my anger and my fear would only come out in my dreams.  I would have bad dreams from time to time that I was in a cement room, and I was screaming, and no one could hear me," Johnson said.

Johnson felt that if she sacrificed her job and went on anti-depressants, she would be allowing the cancer to be "in the driver's seat" of her life.  Now, in her fifth year as a breast cancer survivor, she is living life to the fullest as the director of social work at Meals on Wheels, a nonprofit organization that delivers meals to those who are unable to cook on a regular basis due to various health issues and other circumstances.

"I've chosen a spectrum of life, a career of life, that doesn't make a lot of money ... but I believe I get a great benefit because I know I'm doing things, in lives of people, that they would never have been able to have," Johnson said.

In addition to maintaining a household of seven and a career, Johnson felt God calling her to something greater than survival.

"I had asked God to bring me through this so that my life would be spared for my husband and my children, but, from that day forward, I would give and make life better for others who were diagnosed," said Johnson.

Johnson regularly volunteers with "The Witness Project," as a mentor. She speaks of her experience to encourage early detection and proper treatment of cervical and breast cancer for women at risk.

"The message we want to always instill from today and beyond is to not let anything in your life touch you or break you," said Johnson.

"I'm a living example that you can do it."

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.