For this episode of Community Conversations, our host ST Billingsley spoke with Montclair resident and author Cathy Alves Davis about her experiences and new book titled ‘Myrcles’.
Q: What made you write your book?
A: Well, I have to go to my story that – in 1998, I was doing a self-examination of my breasts, and at that time, I felt a jagged edge in my breast – it was unfamiliar to me. And I went to my gynecologist for a checkup. I had just had a mammogram six months prior, and he said ‘You know, that just doesn’t seem right. I’m going to send you to a radiologist and have a sonogram done.’
So, I went to have the sonogram and when they did the sonogram, they called over to my gynecologist and told him that they found a mass. They thought at that time that it was a cyst – not a real mass – but anyway, my gynecologist decided that he was going to send me to the surgeon. I was then sent to the surgeon – as you can tell from my accent, I’m from the Boston area – and when I went to see the surgeon, he and I had a great talk. He had actually been schooled in Boston.
So, he did a biopsy and when he did the biopsy, he found it to be very water-filled, and he said, ‘You don’t have anything to worry about. This is something that I do need to remove, but we’ll take care of that later when the biopsy results come back. You’re to give me a call next week for the results.’ I wasn’t one bit concerned, no one discussed anything about cancer with me. But a week later when I called up to speak to the nurse practitioner, instead, the doctor – the jovial doctor from Boston, who had been schooled there, who knew where I lived back when I was in Massachusetts – was somber and saddened, when he told me it was not only breast cancer, it was aggressive stage three breast cancer and was actually the size of a navel orange, and was hidden under a fibroid shelf in my left breast.
So it was very, very shocking. I was in complete shock. He told me – he not only told me that news, but he told me that my very existence was at stake. And just for a very short time, I was very rattled and very shocked – naturally, with that kind of news. But very quickly I went right back to my childhood faith. I was brought up in a small town called Duxbury, Massachusetts – I lived about three houses up from the water, and I had a wonderful childhood, a great family – but I had one problem. And that was I was a severe asthmatic. And the asthma was unbelievably difficult. There was no medicine in the 50s and you just suffered, strangled, coughed, choked, and many children died. So in that time, my complete reliance went on God and Christ.
And my mother is actually the one who led God and Jesus to me, because I had no options. There was no one out there that could help me. And when my mother was lost for words, she couldn’t help me either – no help would come – [and] she would urge me to go to Christ. So when I would fall off in exhausted slumber, Jesus was there waiting for me, his hands open wide, and he would heal me again that night. And then the next day I was a child at play once again. But this carried through, throughout my entire childhood. So that foundation of faith was there waiting for me. I always had a close walk with God. I was always a spiritual person. And that close walk with God was waiting for me in my late 40s when I needed God again to overcome a terrible mountain I had to cross over.
I went to Boston for a second opinion and while I was there, they felt absolutely that the cancer was so large, it had spread to my lungs. And if that were the case, I had six months to live. And while I was on the CATSCAN table, praying to God, beseeching him – I wanted to raise my children, I wanted to see them graduate from college, I wanted to see them married, I wanted to see all of the things we all want to see in this lifetime. And as I was praying, the clock on the wall seemed to stop – this drone of the CATSCAN machine at my feet stopped, and my prayer went to the side and God spoke to me, as he had done when I was a child. And he allowed me to know that I would be fine, but that one day I would go on to write a book of hope and inspiration.
So I was then sent to Georgetown. I told the doctors at Georgetown that I would – that this is what would happen to me. Interestingly enough, the only place that had a stage three aggressive breast cancer protocol was at Lombardi Cancer Research Center – 45 minutes from my home. God was already ahead of me all the way. So, I told all of the doctors there that I was going to have a miracle. They patted me, trying to humor me – ‘this was not really going to happen, but if you want to think that way, great.’ But, within the first 24 hours, my biopsies completely changed. It went from all cancer to almost 50% less cancer, and within 2 weeks’ time, my cancer – no one could find it – it was not palpable anymore. And when I had my surgery, they call it a complete clinical response – when there’s no cancer left. We believers call that a miracle.
So when I had surgery, there was no cancer left. I had a complete clinical response to Lombardi Cancer Research Center, but we believers call that a miracle.
Q: What actually made you want to write the book? And what kinds of challenges did you have in actually putting the book together?
A: Well, I had never written a book. I had never thought about writing a book. I did not aspire to be a writer, but when God gave me that message, he had given me lots of messages in my life. And so when he gave me that message that day, I knew I was going to do that. And you know, it was another thing of hope. Hope is everything. If we don’t have hope, we don’t have anything when facing any adversity. So when he gave me that message, that I was to write that book, I held on tight to that. I knew I was going to get through that cancer. I was going to have a miracle, God was going to give me one, I was going to help thousands and thousands of women by my story, my testimony, and years after I healed, I had kept a log, notes. And years after I healed, I started the arduous task of writing the book. With never having done that before.
But you know, I came across this phrase; I typed, and God whispered. Because I would literally wake up in the middle of the night and have an epiphany about what I should say. And I would go in and start typing, and the next day I would wake up and I would go and look and see what I had written and I’d be like ‘Whoa, I wrote that?’ But it was God working through me. Him wanting to give hope and inspiration to countless other people.
Q: So tomorrow night, people can actually meet up at a book club that’s going on, to actually meet you, go over the book which is something that’s not usually normal in a book club.
A: Well you know this is my book, this is my beach back home, and which I was very blessed to get this picture from a person that is a photographer for NBC. And I got this picture, and they put it on my book. My book is on Amazon. It’s getting pages and pages of 5 star reviews. And you don’t usually have the author in the midst of a book club, but so many people have enjoyed the book and they asked me ‘Why don’t you do a book club?’ So I was very blessed to have three lovely friends that said, ‘Hey, we’ll sponsor it at our homes.’ So I am having the book club tomorrow evening. It’s going to be at a friend of mines’ Ricki Guyant. She lives in Brittany.
I’m really excited. And there’s lots of people going – lots of good food, lots of good conversation, and I’ll be there to discuss it, and to answer questions that anyone has. The book is divided into three sections, so that’s why three times the book club will be meeting. So tomorrow evening from 7 [p.m.] to 9 [p.m.] we will be discussing the first section of the book.
Q: You’ll also be at Arts Alive this coming weekend.
A: Yes, I’m so blessed, I was asked to be involved in that, and I am a vendor there. And there’s going to be lots of authors and people that I think are going to be doing music, and there’s going to be more art projects also there. And we’d love everyone to come out. It’s this Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and I will have my book there, and I’d love to speak to people about it.
The first book club meeting will be September 15 at 15956 Kensington Place in Dumfries from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Individuals are asked to bring a dish to share.
Check back for the next episode of Community Conversations from What’s Up Prince William.