I am a strong woman and I’ve handled adversity before. I knew I would get through it. I thought, ‘I’ve got this.’
When she learned she had endometrial cancer, Tina Silas says she cried, but not for long. “I had my 5 minutes of emotion, and then I moved forward,” said Silas. “I am a strong woman and I’ve handled adversity before. I knew I would get through it. I thought, ‘I’ve got this.’”
Before her diagnosis, Silas had been having regular checkups at the doctor’s office and everything seemed fine. When she turned 50 and began having irregular periods and heavy bleeding, she chalked it up to symptoms of menopause. But the changes didn’t go away, and in January 2018 she also began feeling out of breath and lacked energy. She went back to the doctor and had several tests, including an endometrial biopsy. That’s when she learned she had cancer.
“I’m a very optimistic person,” said Silas. “I went in with the hope that it wasn’t anything negative, that everything was fine, but I also always knew it could be cancer. So when she told me, I wasn’t shocked. I was happy to know there was a diagnosis. So I was like – let’s get this done.”
Silas’ treatment plan included 6 cycles of chemotherapy and a hysterectomy. She had complications after the surgery that required dozens of blood transfusions and a hospital stay of several weeks. But now that she’s recovered, her doctor is confident the surgery removed all the cancer. Silas will start radiation treatments soon.
Silas says even though she didn’t ask to have cancer, she’s in control of how she’s approaching it. “I took the bull by the horns,” she said.
When her hair began to fall out from chemotherapy, Silas visited her local American Cancer Society office in Greenbelt, Maryland, and was given 2 wigs and a hat. But she quickly decided to go bald instead. “I’ve been wearing it bald and proud,” she says. “I’m not my hair. My hair doesn’t define who I am.” She says going bald in public helps her provide inspiration, motivation, and encouragement to other cancer survivors. “When people see I’m bald, they sometimes approach me and ask me if I’m a cancer survivor, and I give them my testimony,” she said.
It’s also provided her with some funny moments. Once she saw a photo of a woman with a stylish hairdo and asked her daughter, a hair stylist, to fix her hair that way. After getting a funny look from her daughter, Silas remembered she was bald. “I forgot I don’t have hair!” she said. Silas now thinks she may keep it short even after her hair grows back. “I’m so grateful I have a perfectly shaped head.”
Silas says she also found comfort in her support system and her faith. “My diagnosis and journey have allowed me to be more faithful in God and trust in him,” she said. “If I didn’t have the faith, if my belief wasn’t hopeful and strong, I don’t know where I’d be. My family, friends and church family with their fervent prayers helped me stay in high spirts and kept me alive. It takes a village!"
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Due to the impact of COVID-19 on American Cancer Society resources, we are no longer able to review new submissions for Stories of Hope.