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By Rachel Gobep, Story330
Goldie Tillman said she is fighting breast cancer for her three children because she wants to make sure she sees them grow up, graduate and start their own lives.
“I don’t want what I’m going through right now to have their minds not really on ‘kid things’ because you only get to be a kid once,” she said.
She wants her children to still be kids and tries not to put too much pressure on them with her diagnosis.
Tillman, from Warren, was diagnosed with cancer at 29 after she found an abnormal lump in August 2018.
She said she originally put it off and went to the doctor after the new year. But feels lucky that she found it when she did because it did not spread.
Tillman said she this experience has been an eye-opener and that tomorrow is not really promised. She learned that she needs to stop putting things off and procrastinating.
She always did breast exams at home because she has larger breasts, and her biggest fear was needing to have a mastectomy because she is so young.
“(Breasts) for me is the biggest part of being a woman, especially a young woman,” she said.
Tillman’s OBGYN recommended her to the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center after a positive biopsy. From Day 1, she said her experience at the center was beautiful – from the kindness of the staff to the environment.
She began her first round of chemotherapy in April.
She was scared at first because she was the youngest person there and felt out of place at times because she was the only black woman in the room, but she was made to feel at home.
“This is a great place. I would most definitely recommend this place to any and everybody … I have a decent team of people. I love them, and I know they love me.”
Tillman said she is trying to explain to her 9-year-old daughter that cancer is not something a person can just “catch.” It’s not contagious and the treatment is not something that she can be scared of.
“I know my body, and that’s something [my daughter] needs to learn too … because nobody can tell you about your body but you,” she said.
She said this experience has changed her life because she was going through a lot before her diagnosis and thought everything was going to be back on track, but then she found the lump.
Her hopes for the future are to be cancer-free, to move on, be healthy and live in the now.
Tillman plans on attending the Panerathon, a 10K/2-mile walk or run in downtown Youngstown that benefits JACBCC, with her family and friends on Aug. 25.