Kim Payne does not shy away from her fight against cancer—she embraces it.

Relying on support from her family, friends and her faith, Payne found hope in her battle, a hope she wishes to spread to others diagnosed with cancer.

Payne said she went to the doctor in 2014 because of an ongoing pain in her knee. That is when they learned of her cancer.

“It was New Year’s Eve in 2014, and my knee had been bothering me,” said Payne. “I fell down some stairs because it gave out on me. They went in to check my knee and they found out there was a tumor in my knee. It started as breast cancer, and it metastasized to my knee.”

Payne said she had to undergo a total knee replacement, which was the hardest part of her battle.

“I have a lot of faith,” said Payne. “When I talked to my pastor, he said ‘what’s the worst that could happen? You’ve already faced the worst.’ We faced the worst with the knee surgery.”

While undergoing treatment, Payne said she found a network of support. However, she noted that family and friends of those battling cancer also need support.

“Honestly, I can say that it’s a blessing,” Payne said. “It’s brought other people into my life; it’s brought family back into my life. I know a person from church who also has breast cancer, and there’s that bond that each one of us knows exactly what it is. There’s a common ground that goes through all of this. Somebody always knows if I’m having a down day, and there’s that bond where you know someone will be there to pick you back up.

“It’s not just me that needs the support—it’s my family,” said Payne. “The breast cancer victim gets what they need, but they’ve got to have support for their family too, and they get that from each other.”

Payne receives injections every 28 days, and takes Ibrance, oral chemotherapy, for 21 days. The treatment has been effective, Payne noted.

“It keeps it at bay and it maintains itself. I have a PET scan every six months. So far so good, as long as the medication works. This one I’ve been on for three years now, and I’m blessed to say that it’s able to work,” said Payne

Payne encourages women to be there for each other and to form strong bonds that help people through times of struggle.

“Breast cancer makes you realize that you have to uplift other women, no matter what stage of life they’re in, and not tear each other down. It makes your faith a little bit stronger.”

No one is immune to cancer. Payne encourages people to take action and to have regular checkups.

“Don’t be afraid,” Payne said. “If you have a symptom, go in and get checked. I waited too long. Everyone’s at their own step, but if you find something, go ask. Go get a mammogram. Even if you don’t think you need one, get one. Just get checked, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If something happens to you, no matter what it is, you’ve got to face your fear. Fear is just going to eat you. The worst has happened to me, so what could happen that’s worse?”

Payne hopes that people will become more aware about breast cancer and its effects. She believes it is important to keep the conversation about breast cancer going.

“People seem to talk about it a little more,” said Payne. “When my grandmother was first diagnosed, it was taboo; we didn’t talk about it. I was sheltered from it. I want my grandkids to know I have it, and that I’m not leaving. You can’t shelter people from it. Make sure that your family knows. If they need support, make sure they get some support too. It’s not just the person, it’s the family too. If you need help, this community helps you. Make sure your family finds support. Don’t let them fall apart.”

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