There is hope and help available for women struggling with cancer jacquita erkins

Photo: Montgomery resident Jacquita Erkins

Photo contributed

Jacquita Erkins, a Montgomery resident recently battled stage 2 triple positive BRCA breast cancer. Jacquita is interested in spreading the word about her journey in advance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month so others who might be experiencing the same battle can hear her story and know they are not alone.

Jacquita was just 44 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2015. Her journey through treatment was challenging, as she not only went through chemotherapy and radiation, but she also had multiple surgeries at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Atlanta, including a nipple sparing mastectomy, reconstruction of the right chest cavity after radiation and implants. During this time, she experienced many difficult side effects, including fatigue, dehydration, neuropathy and more; however, through it all, she maintained her spirit.

Now, at age 47, Jacquita only visits CTCA for follow-up appointments and is free to return to doing what she loves, including reading, dancing and swimming. She’s also a member of Women in Ministry International, an organization that builds confident and spiritual women all over the world, where she mentors young women ages 12-18 to be positive, young Christian women. She also delivers meals to the sick and elderly and drives them to appointments, if needed.

Two Maids and a Mop to the rescue

Dusting, mopping and vacuuming are never fun, but all can be simply overwhelming if you must do it in the middle of chemotherapy while struggling with fatigue and nausea.

Luckily, throughout October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, local mothers who are in treatment are getting free house cleaning services, so they can concentrate on getting better and spend more quality time with their families.

Sharan Chase of Montgomery is one of hundreds of women across the country who has experienced the free cleaning services. “I was sick as a dog at the time due to a chemotherapy medication, I could not get off of my couch,” said Chase. “The folks at Two Maids & A Mop have made me feel great, especially knowing that the heavy stuff that needs to be done will get done. When you have people who care, it makes all the difference in the world.”

The staff at the local Two Maids & A Mop office works with Cleaning for a Reason, a national non-profit organization, to find patients like Sharan.

Almost always these women feel like they are either a bad mom or wife – if they can’t continue to play the role of “caregiver in chief.” Two Maids & A Mop goes in and does the work over a four-month period.