Two Time Breast Cancer Survivor: Patricia (Pat) Coefield ​

Patricia Cofield, Photo: @CarmenCreativeConcepts Makeup: @ghost_rhoyal


Marie Jean Elozar

ORLANDO – Breast cancer is a very scary and dreadful disease. Despite that, millions of people have overcome the odds of breast cancer. Going through breast cancer is more than just a cosmetic issue. It can have adverse psychological and emotional effects. It’s very hard for a woman to realize that not having breasts doesn’t define our sexuality and doesn’t bring down our feminine appeal. One in every eight American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. All of us will know someone who is affected by the disease.

I had the honor of spending some time with Patricia. I came up with the idea of doing a mini makeover and photo shoot for breast cancer survivors so they can see how God sees them, beautiful. I had a good friend Nikki come and do Pat’s makeup and did a mini photoshoot. Pat’s story started when she was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer in March of 2016, at age 58. She was diagnosed with an invasive Lobular Carcinoma in her Right Breast. Then she was diagnosed a second time in May of 2018 at 60. This breast cancer diagnosis was DCIS, left breast. Both times it was stage 0 cancer. Pat’s grandmother and aunt from her mother’s side of the family died from breast cancer. Nevertheless, her mother didn’t have breast cancer.

What was your first reaction when you were told that you had cancer?

“My first reaction when I was told I had breast cancer in 2016 wasn’t as concerning to me. All I wanted was to get the bad part out so I could move on. But the 2nd time I was told it was on the other side, it kind of took me off guard because I thought that being stage 0 and having radiation took care of everything. After I was told about the 2nd time, I went and sat alone in my car for about 30 minutes, trying to absorb it all, before I shared it with my husband, other family members, and friends. This time, I sought out to find out more about breast cancer and my options so that I could make more informed decisions about my future treatment plan.”

Do you have a support network? If not, how did you overcome it or find it?

“Yes, I had an excellent support network of family, friends, and church members. My husband was my biggest supporter both times. He took weeks off from work to care for me while I recovered at home.”

Did you ever think that you would lose this battle?

“No. I have never thought about losing this battle with breast cancer. Because, when I’m gone, I will gain more than I have ever had that’s earning my Eternal Reward as a Christian. I realize that Breast Cancer is a terrible disease that can cause death, but I also realize that there are millions of other ways we will leave this world. My focus is not on dying, but on living.”

What did you do to feel empowered to fight your cancer?

“MY FAITH. HIS WILL! I surrounded myself with like-minded positive, thinking people (and still do), read my Bible, prayed, and read other encouraging devotions and articles. Listen to gospel music. Doing my best to stay in a good place so that I can heal emotionally, spiritually, and physically.”

What kept you fighting?

“Knowing that God has a purpose for my life has kept me going, coupled with having loving family and friends that I enjoy being with.”

What was the most challenging part of your journey, and how did you overcome it?

“The most challenging part of my journey has been dealing with occasional depression. When it hits, it hits hard. For each event, I talk with others, pray, pray and pray until the depression is lifted. I sought professional counseling once, it was OK, but they offered medicines that I didn’t want to take. I rely on God, Stand on His promises and use my inner strength to push through it. My favorite scriptures are Psalms 23, Psalms 27, and Philippians 4:13.”

What advice would you give on how to best support a loved one going through breast cancer?

“Don’t act like a person with cancer is contagious. I know people don’t often know the right thing to say or do. But I say do what your heart tells you to say or do, but make sure it’s genuine. Don’t say things like, “I know how you feel” or “Call me if you need anything.” Find out what the person really needs and just do it. Take a meal, go with them to the doctor, visit, call, pay a bill, or put a few dollars in their hand, etc. From the time of finding out a person has cancer, there have been numerous out-of-pocket costs associated with screening tests, co-pays, and deductibles to not being able to work and bills not getting paid. So, there are numerous ways to help.”

Who do you remember a lot nowadays? Who helped you the most?

“My husband and my family. I am so very grateful for my husband, who took care of my every need while I was recovering. I remember the ladies from church who came and visited me and brought dinner with them. I remember a church couple who had flowers delivered to my home. I remember my Pastors wife, who came and brought me blueberry muffins. I remember my brother Lawrence visiting and bringing lunch. I remember my Pastor and co-worker/friend Phil who prayed with me and for me. I remember the kindness and love shown me during my diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. I remember the kindness and sensitivity of my doctors, nurses, technicians and the care I received at Orlando Health Cancer Institute. They were all so caring and made me feel reassured that I would receive the best possible care.”

How is life after cancer?

“Life after cancer is good for me. I’m 4 years cancer free, and I’m mindful that I must make my follow-up appointments as required, as the screening tests are important in early diagnosis should cancer present its ugly head again. I am taking better care of myself, eating better, losing weight, and just enjoying life. Other than surgery and recovering after surgery, I have done pretty much what I wanted to do. I am emotionally, physically, and spiritually in a good place.

Patricia Coefield is a breast cancer warrior. She works as an Administrative Assistant at Washington Shores Church of Christ, Orlando, FL. She is also the president of The Orlando Chapter of Sisters Network® Inc.​, which is a non-profit organization devoted to bringing breast cancer awareness to the African-American community of Central Florida and is committed to fighting breast cancer through education, by advocating annual mammograms and monthly self-breast examination. As a 501(c)(3) organization, The Orlando Chapter of Sisters Network® Inc. welcomes donations to help them promote “Breast Health Matters” in the tri-county areas of Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties. Survivors and non-survivors are invited to join to be a part of their campaign to “Stop the Silence®” and help saves lives from breast cancer. Email Contact: [email protected] for more information.

Author – Marie Jean Elozar is the founder of Our Pink Is Beautiful and the owner of Carmen Creative Concepts. She has a degree in Business Management. She is also a two-time Breast Cancer Survivor. She is dedicated to breast cancer awareness year-round, promoting self-care, and building confidence with Uplifting and inspiring through empowering stories of hope, activities, and events—all for His glory.