Faith & Healing: Tatisa Joiner Inspires Breast Cancer Survivors

| February 6, 2009 | 0 Comments

By Jen K

Last year Chicagonista hosted a booth at the Chicago Toy & Game Fairand I had the good fortune meeting Tatisa Joiner, breast cancer survivor and champion, motivational speaker and Chairwoman of the Charles and Tatisa Joiner Foundation. Some would say that our meeting was by chance and credit being in the right place at the right time, but I tend to believe in the power of destiny so I knew this wasn’t a coincidental meeting.

The moment before we introduced ourselves I remember admiring the way she floated through the crowd radiating confidence and enthusiasm so when she mentioned her past battle with breast cancer as we spoke, I was speechless . Unbeknownst to anyone, I had come from a doctor’s visit days before where we spoke about my family history of breast cancer (my mother and her younger sister) and scheduling genetic testing to see if I carry the breast cancer gene. Should I have the gene, my doctor recommended that both breasts be removed and understandably I was still struggling with that concept but in silence. As fate would have it, this strong, gregarious woman stood before me explaining that after her second experience with breast cancer (only months after her first), she willingly chose that her brand new reconstructed breast be removed and not replaced.

The way she spoke was calm and logical when she discussed her illness and the reasons she did not have another breast created. At the time of her diagnosis (she reported a burning sensation to her doctor) Tatisa had an eight month old baby that had taken five years in the making (literally!) You can tell that she is an intelligent and rational woman who made it her mission to survive.  But how? She credits her faith, her son and her marriage for staying focused on her health.  She also credits her network of friends and family for making it possible.

Open to sharing all aspects of her illness and her recovery, Tatisa speaks to groups and organizations not only to increase awareness, but to prove that a diagnosis is not a death sentence. Her foundation seeks to help underpriviledged woman in finding treatment and care after they are diagnosed to improve their survival rate and quality of life.  And if that wasn’t enough Tatisa is also working on her first novel “Unspoken Memories”.

When I asked if breast cancer slowed her down in some respects, she laughed and shared yet another gift of wisdom.  Her smile grew wider when  she explained “Tomorrow is a gift”. And it is. How about the future? She says she is okay with not knowing, rather relying on the present for everything she needs. I am inspired by Tatisa who is also an Office Manager in the Chicago area, a Mom, a wife, a friend and (I can attest) a person with whom you may have some of the most meaningful conversations- ever.


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Category: Who In Chicago

About the Author ()

Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Lead blogger for, and Co-Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam

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