At the beginning of the school year, Adrienne Carter was ready to begin the next phase of her life as an English teacher. But shortly after, her life took an unexpected turn.
In the midst of starting a new job at Clinton High School, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. As a result, Carter had a breast removed through a mastectomy, which was followed by breast reconstruction.
“With the help of God and the strength that He has implanted in me, I am still here,” Carter said.”Never in a million years did I think that I would be diagnosed with breast cancer.”
For Carter, the surgery was an intense process, which included six hours of being under anesthesia.
“As I awakened from the surgery, and looking at family in my room, the looks on their faces were a bit puzzling. I began to ask, ‘is it gone, is it gone?’ I was not even quite out of the effects of the anesthesia, but I knew with all the strength that I could muster up, I had to ask with the looks on their faces.”
She got an answer from her aunt, Phyllis Carter Goodman, who told her it was gone. But the struggles did not stop there.
“The surgery was a success, but the recovery has been very agonizing,” Carter said. “The pain level has been tremendous and excruciating. With all the sermons my pastor Bishop Varnie N. Fullwood has preached to me, I had to gather them up and indulge myself in them as part of my recovery.”
Goodman and her mother Dorcas Carter Beatty are currently raising money through GoFundMe to help her through the struggle. As a new educator, Adrienne was not able to gain enough benefits or leave time to cover expenses on the road to recovery, which includes surgeries and treatments.
“We wanted to have this fundraiser to help her and assist her,” Beatty said. “You’re going to be stressed out about your diagnosis, but we wanted to do the fundraiser so she wouldn’t be so stressed out about her financial status.”
In addition to online donations, the Carter family along with friends will honor Adrienne at a breast cancer benefit and dinner at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, at Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, 4442 Bonnetsville Road, Clinton. Along with music, words of inspirations from supporters, including classmates, will be shared with Carter. Breast cancer survivors are also scheduled to share their stories. Tickets are being sold for $10.
The funds from online and the event will also be used to help with expenses such as utility bills, groceries, moving expenses and to assist her three children as she is unable to work. Her son Josiah Pope is currently a freshman at North Carolina Central University; middle son Jeremiah Pope is a junior at Clinton High School; and her youngest child Joell Montana is 2.
So far, the family is thankful that Carter does not need chemotherapy treatments. Doctors also discovered that other related issues such metastasis and lymph nodes were not discovered. Beatty said the cancer was found immediately.
“A lot of times when you find breast cancer on a woman or any other type of cancer, you have to do (a lot of things),” Beatty said. “But this was found in the nick of time because she doesn’t have to have any of the chemo or radiation therapy at this time.”
But overall, Beatty said her daughter is a strong woman, although it’s an emotional battle that comes with tears every now and then.
“She’s a strong woman of faith,” Beatty said. “She puts her faith in God, first and foremost. Even when we cry, God tells us to lean on him anyway.”
Carter said the word of God is part of her existence and it prepared her for this stage in her life.
“I’ve received a lot of support from family, friends and my church family,” Carter said. “If not for their support, I don’t know how I would be able to endure this road.”
In the upcoming weeks, Carter will have to receive post surgeries for the breast reconstruction. Eventually, Beatty said she will have to visit an oncologist for evaluation to keep the cancer out of her body.
“I’ve got a few more miles to run, but I am going to finish this race,” Carter said. “After surgery, it has been a process – one that is long-lasting. I will never forget this trial. It has been intense. I am a woman of faith, so with that said, with all that I have been through, the God that I serve has the final say, and by His stripes I am healed, healed to serve God at a new level of faith; healed to take care of my boys.”
Donations are currently being accepted through Go Fund Me at www.gofundme.com/me8g4qy4
“I’ve got to get going, because I have unfinished work that needs me, and that includes loving my children,” the single mother said. “Thank you in advance to my entire community for all you’ve done to help me get back to life.”