In Her Words: Tyra Smith Powell


Today’s post is another tough one for me.  Not because of the subject matter, but because of the person I’m featuring.  You know how growing up, you have a friend that has the “Cool Momma”?   The one that makes you force them to be your momma too?  Yeah, that’s Mama Tyra to me.  She is absolutely hilarious.  She’s the momma that will take over the party but will turn around and curse everybody out for trying her.  Lol.  But that’s why we all love her.  So imagine my shock and devastation when I’m scrolling Facebook one day and run across her post announcing that she was diagnosed with breast cancer and has already begun treatment.  Even as I type this, I’m losing my thought process and fighting back tears.  But I know that God CAN.  And I know that she is a fighter.  Keep fighting Mama Tyra.  We’re praying and fighting with you.  Here’s her story:

  • Take us to the moment that you were told of your diagnosis.  What were your first thoughts?

Tyra:  There was a miscommunication with the doctors. I was referred to my surgeon and no one had called me back with my results. I got there to be evaluated and he was giving me the spill of what he would do if the cancer didn’t shrink.  I interrupted him and said, “Are you saying I have cancer?” He said “Hold up.”  He grabbed my hands prayed with me and my husband, then he sincerely explained my results with me.


  • What treatment(s) did you undergo (radiation, surgery, chemo, etc)

Tyra:  I started off with 15 treatments of chemo; 3 different drugs for 15 weeks.  When my tumor did shrink, I was sent back to the surgeon to make a decision of what to do with my breast.  Although cancer was only in my left breast I opted to have both removed due to the fact that I didn’t want to deal with breast cancer again. 6 weeks later I was back in treatment with chemo again for the next 30 weeks.  Since I only get treatment every 3 weeks, I’m looking at 2 yrs of treatment. I’ve had several casualties of war. I’ve lost my breasts, hair, finger nails, toenails and feeling in my feet and fingertips. Neuropathy taunts me daily.


  • Were there any organizations that provided you some type of assistance (financial, emotional support, etc)?

Tyra:  The Gift of Life in Beaumont,TX provided me with a free follow up mammogram, breast ultrasound, and the biopsy that confirmed stages 2, 3, and 4 cancer in my breast and lymph nodes.


  • What would you say helped you get through your treatment process?

Tyra:  Family, friends and my faith in God


The Open Space: I’d like for you to take this opportunity to say whatever it is you would like to say about your experience.  It could be advice to someone that was just diagnosed, it could be to someone that wants to support but isn’t sure how, or even a message to your loved ones.  Use this space however you choose.

Tyra:  I’ve been a trooper throughout my journey.  I laugh, I cry, and I’ve also informed people of the ins and outs of breast cancer. To women everywhere:  Get those well woman exams!   Check those boobs!  If you’re under the age of forty, ask your doctor for a breast ultrasound.  You’re NEVER too young for breast cancer . Most of all be encouraged!  This could be you or a loved one.

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