Unwavering faith, family and friends sustained Jewnita D. Clark through her breast cancer journey.
“God chose me so that I would have a testimony to help someone else.” That is what the Ozark woman says as she recounts the journey that for her began in January 2014.
A routine annual mammogram is how Clark’s breast cancer was first suspected. “I was 60 years old and had no history of breast cancer in my family,” she explained. “My mammogram showed a possible cyst, however this was not confirmed at that time and I was advised to repeat the mammogram in six months.
“In June I repeated the mammogram and ultrasound and had a biopsy,” Clark said, adding that the diagnosis was Stage 1 Breast Cancer. “News I never expected.
“I had so many feelings come up in that moment—from anxiety to uncertainty and fear,” Clark recalled. “I took time out for myself to process everything and share the news with my family.
“The next step was to get my health team together, which consisted of a surgeon, oncologist and radiation therapist,” Clark said. “I began meeting with my team to get educated on my treatment and determine a solid plan of action. As one could imagine, I had tons of questions for the doctors after my cancer diagnosis.
“What type of cancer do I have? How can it be treated? What treatment related side effects can I expect?” were among the questions that flooded Clark’s mind. “I quickly learned that all cancer treatments have risks and benefits. My treatment recommendations were chemotherapy and radiation therapy.”
Clark and her husband of 49 years, Larry, are the parents of Larry J. and Lathon Clark, the grandparents of Avonna and Jalen Clark and the in-laws of Lorelie Clark. “My family was very supportive through my entire journey,” she said. “My family, co-workers, friends, church family, college instructors and others that had been through this, gave me so much support.”
Clark had returned to college three years earlier, at the age of 57. “While completing one and one half years of cancer treatments I proudly completed and accepted my degree from Troy University in December 2015,” she said. “I completed this life long goal that I dreamed about and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in criminal justice/sociology.
“While receiving both chemo and radiation treatment I was able to push through and continue with my college classes with the help of God and the support of all my instructors.”
An information technology specialist, Clark had retired from Fort Rucker in 2009 after 36 years of government service. She works now at the Center Library on Fort Rucker as a technical librarian and attends church at the Wings Chapel on Fort Rucker.
“I faced my disease in a positive manner and showed people through my example that such a thing can indeed be done,” the now seven-year breast cancer survivor said. “After my college graduation, I have continued to be a big advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness through my membership in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
“I felt supported and encouraged every step of my journey and continue to see my health team on a yearly basis,” Clark said. “I never miss my annual mammogram.
“I am choosing to share my story in hopes that it will raise breast cancer awareness and inspire others,” she added. “And to remind them that they are not alone in this battle.”