We all know someone with cancer or who may have battle with cancer, right? But to have your entire immediate family have cancer, that’s enough to break anyone down.
In the early 1980s, Ms. Cimeron DuBose began to experience blurred vision and sensitivity to light in her left eye. She learned she had uveitis, an inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye.
Symptoms of uveitis include redness, pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision, and dark floating spots in the field of vision. It also affect the lens, retina, optic nerve, and vitreous, producing reduced vision or blindness.
Uveitis may be caused by problems or diseases occurring in the eye or it can be part of an inflammatory disease affecting other parts of the body. It can happen at all ages and primarily affects people between 20 and 60 years old.
“I had to get my left eye removed,” Ms. DuBose, 58, said.
In 1996, a cataract formed on her right eye, further weakening her vision. She had to give up her job as a data entry clerk for the city’s Finance Department.
Since she couldn’t work, she spent much of her later life raising two daughters, taking an active role in raising her sister’s two children and caring for her father, who learned in the late 1970’s that he had rheumatoid arthritis.
Tending to her father was Ms. DuBose’s most important task, repayment for all he had done for her when she was growing up. Her mother died when Ms. DuBose was 27. After that, her father and grandmother had become more important in her life.
“They really, really supported me,” she said. “They told me you have to take it a day at a time and don’t worry about things. Keep your head up and keep going and going. You can’t give up, never give up.”
Those words were never needed more than in 2010 when she was confronted with the ultimate family crisis: three generations of her family learned they had cancer: Ms. DuBose, her father and her elder daughter, Alexis. Her father had a rare form of penile cancer, Alexis had leukemia and Ms. DuBose had skin cancer under her right eye.
“It was devastating,” she said. “To hear all that, and realize I had cancer right under my good eye, I was a mess.”
Doctors were able to remove Ms. DuBose’s cancer without further compromising her vision, and Alexis’ leukemia is in remission. Ms. DuBose’s father died in 2011 in their family’s apartment, where her grandmother had died years earlier.
Though life became much more difficult for Ms. DuBose after her father’s death, she said his words had stayed with her.
“When times get hard, I hear him,” she said. “He’d always tell me: ‘You worry too much. It’s going to be all right. Just do what you have to do.’ ”
Her household is full. Her daughters — Alexis, 33, and Theresa, 30 — live with her. Both are looking for work. Theresa’s 3-year-old son, Jamere, also lives with them.
“My daughter got pregnant the same year my father died,” Ms. DuBose said. “Seeing him coming brought a whole lot of joy into this house.”
After receiving help from the NY Times, Ms. DuBose said that while the past few years had brought loss and…
Woman Finds Joy After Entire Family Diagnosed With Cancer was originally published on blackdoctor.org