October 6, 2021

Life Beyond Cancer, by Daphane Carter

I am a breast cancer survivor. I went through chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation. And because MD Anderson wasn’t allowing visitors during the height of the pandemic, I had to do it alone.  My survival and attitude to life post-cancer is an example of the power of positive thinking and persistence in developing strength of body and mind.

I wrote this quote in my journal early in my journey:

“Your life is your story. Write well. Edit Often. Be open to a different plot. Perhaps a twist in the story. But remember, you are the author. So write (live) it like it is a best seller.” 

I can’t control what happens to me all the time, but I can control the way I handle it. I wake up every day asking myself this question, “What do I want my story to say?” I want it to say Warrior, Believer, Fighter, Brave, Courageous. So I live as though those words are true even when I feel the very opposite.

You see, I was fortunate to have experienced cancer. I was fortunate that my cancer was detected when it was in Stage 2. I was fortunate to have a dedicated team of cancer experts close to home at MD Anderson, and fortunate to have maintained a positive attitude with the help of family and friends, especially my husband, Stephen, who was there for me every step of the way. I was fortunate because my story will hopefully inspire someone to keep fighting and pushing during their battle. I want to let other women know about the importance of being screened for breast cancer, as well as the importance of pursuing aggressive treatment.

Cancer is a word, not a sentence. It is not a death sentence. It is just one chapter in my story; one part of my life. Cancer does not define me. 


Daphane Carter is Chief Academic Officer and State Superintendent for KIPP Texas Public Schools.