Local woman's courage inspiring

Published 5:13 pm Monday, November 7, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
Several weeks ago my life was blessed by a miracle. I met a young woman who is nothing short of a miracle. Samantha Bennett, administrative assistant to Chief Jason Dean of the Atmore Police Department, is a breast cancer survivor according to the statistics. But in my eyes she is one of God's many miracles.
I interviewed Samantha several weeks ago as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Samantha's personality alone is one that attracts people or draws them to her. She possesses an outward natural beauty that is only magnified by her humble spirit.
She did more than make me aware of the issues facing thousands of women each year in the form of breast cancer. Samantha spoke from her heart and allowed me to be just a small part of what she had experienced.
Samantha inspired me. According to the odds of her case and type of cancer, she should not be here with us. But by the grace of God, she is.
As Samantha and I talked, we realized what a small world we live in, as we discovered that we both grew up in neighboring towns of South East Louisiana. God works in mysterious ways!
I must admit, that I walked away from Samantha with a heavy heart, not for her, but for how unthankful I tend to be. I felt nothing but joy, hope and admiration for Samantha, my burden lie within me.
So often I complain about the house not being cleaned, the dishes not being washed, my hair not doing right, my boys fighting and the almost endless arrival of bills yet alone do anything fun. Samantha showed me that those things really don't matter if you don't have your health or better yet a life.
She lives her life in anticipation of what each new day will bring her with her husband and daughters. When I think of Samantha I think of someone literally sitting on the edge of his or her seat in excitement or anticipation of something to come.
Her world was completely turned upside down at a very young age when she was first diagnosed with cancer, but she kept going. Even in her darkest times, she continued to work. She never gave up. And now she is a bundle of energy stronger than before and so full of joy and peace.
A lot can be learned from Samantha. She will always be in my mind, especially on those days that I feel I can't go on.
In the article written about Samantha's heroics, one of the statements made led people to believe that she is no longer seeing her doctor yearly or going through the appropriate testing. Samantha and I talked after the article was published and she wanted to explain the situation more clearly to women affected by breast cancer. Samantha is probably the strongest advocate for breast cancer prevention and with her compassionate heart she wants women to do all they can to prevent or overcome this deadly disease.
I have included in Samantha's own words, the procedure she continues to follow after being healed. I encourage everyone to read it and pass it on to any loved ones that you feel may benefit from Samantha's advice.
"I continue to follow my doctors orders and see my oncologist every six months as recommended. I however chose to not have the testing every year such as PET, CT or Bone scans as I have had four of those tests come back "Clear". These types of tests aren't offered to most women on a yearly basis, but given my situation and how close I came to the critical point of not saving me these tests were offered to me electively each year. I have chosen to "skip" a year because of the four previous tests being "Clear".
"I continue to stress that women should always follow their doctor's orders. I obtained the maximum treatments offered to me and because I followed those recommendations I am here today. Early detection and early treatment is always the best but for me I want to say to others that even in the worse situation trust in God, hope in the future and an inner fight to live can still have a great impact on the outcome." Samantha Bennett
Janet Little Cooper is the lifestyles reporter for the Atmore Advance. Her column appears weekly.

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