OSU-OKC Student Life director shares cancer journey
TeeJai wants those facing breast cancer to know there is hope.
TerJuana “TeeJai” Brooks is the director of student life at OSU-OKC.
Brooks found a lump in her breast a week before her wedding. After her honeymoon, she went to get it checked out with a mammogram and ultrasound. The results showed something in both breasts, so a biopsy was ordered.
The results were troubling: aggressive, triple-positive, stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma.
Brooks took the results with the positive attitude she’s known for around the OSU-OKC campus.
“The first thing that came to mind was probably what’s next,” Brooks said. “I didn’t know what the next steps were.”
The next step was chemotherapy. In the following years, there was a bilateral mastectomy, reconstruction, and five years of hormone blockers. Six years later, Brooks has no evidence of disease.
“Prior to treatment I wish I would have known that the nausea is real,” Brooks said. “And also to continue moving. Moving around is very helpful. Staying stagnant, it can be detrimental.”
Brooks said having people around her in support made a big difference. It helped her to never lose hope as she went through the situation.
“Ninety percent of it is a mental battle,” Brooks said, so a great advantage is “having those positive people around you to encourage you, to support you, to motivate you -- to be your cheerleader whenever you’re going to treatments, doctor’s appointments, surgeries, whatever.”
Now, Brooks wants to give back, by participating in awareness events and helping out with local and national breast cancer charities, including those that help survivors of the disease.
“Knowing the journey that they’ve been through and how they have overcome a lot of the things inspired me to do the same thing for new-coming survivors to help them out, as well as encourage them and motivate them to beat this horrible disease, to get through whatever it is that they need,” she said.