The survival story of Rubystein Coppage took a Holy Trinity.
She will proudly tell you the foundation of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit helped to rebuild her spiritually, mentally and physically during her battle with Breast Cancer.
Back in 2016 Coppage was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer and took her first treatment on May 24 of that year. Her last treatment was a year ago on Oct. 5. She had the surgery shortly after that, and her last radiation treatment was in January. The next phase was the wait between check ups.
Recently a visit to the medical staff at the West Clinic yielded some news that made Coppage want to sing for glory.
“I had my mammogram in July, there’s no form of cancer — no cancer there,” she stated with a glowing smile. “I went to the doctor and everything looks well. They gave me the thumbs up. I’m good. No form of cancer is there and everything looks good. I am a survivor on today.”
Survival took some help from the likes of Dr. Gregory Vidal at the West Clinic in Memphis. The doctors and nurses kept Coppage on pace and informed to battle the cancer.
A spiritual team ranging from Memphis and the members of United Christian Fellowship in Millington were on board visiting and taking Coppage to appointments.
And family members like her son Travis were there in the midnight hours when pain hit or for simple encouragement.
Coppage acknowledged there were a few moments she wanted to throw in the towel.
“It feels good but I can’t help but go back to where I’ve come from,” she said. It feels good to be able to survive it. When you go through breast cancer, you have faith in God.
“It’s not that you don’t believe in God,” Coppage continued. “It’s not that. But when you go through breast cancer it’s like, ‘Am I going to survive spiritually, mentally and physically?’”
Coppage acknowledged each phase in her life experienced a breakdown. But, over time, each was rebuilt through a higher power.
“It broke me down spiritually to the point to where I couldn’t believe God would do this to me,” she recalled. “I’m being transparent. It was hard for me to believe God would allow this to happen to me. I did ask why me. I said, ‘God I thought I would never be going through breast cancer.’
“It broke me down spiritually to the point my faith was wavering,” Coppage continued. “I’m being honest with you. We have to be transparent and real. My faith was wavering. I had my doubts and all that. But the only thing I remember was, ‘I trust you, God.’ I just kept saying that.”
Coppage took a moment during her battle with breast cancer to reflect on how far she has come already.
“What built me back up was He reminded me, ‘I brought you through congestive heart failure,’” she said, continuing, “‘I’ve brought you through a whole lot of surgeries. I brought through a stroke. I brought you through seizures. I even brought you through your mom carrying you in her womb and your father beating on your mom.’ He reminded me I didn’t bring you this far to leave you.”
Battle-tested, Coppage had to get her mind right for the fight of her life. She was surprised how breast cancer would rob a person of his or her mental toughness.
“The battle of the mind, at one point I wanted to give up,” she acknowledged. “I was letting go. My son Travis came in my room one day. He could tell I was letting go. He said, ‘Mom, you can’t leave. You’ve got to much work to do.’ And I was l letting go and I was telling God, ‘Come get me. I’m ready to go.’”
Those thoughts came during the chemotherapy. The breakdown of her body had Coppage ready to quit. She tried isolating herself but quickly realized she needed love to have any chance of getting her mind rededicated.
“Whenever you’re going through something like cancer, you need people around you,” she said. “The key thing is love. Isolation is the last thing you need. When you’re isolating yourself away from people, the Enemy messes with your mind. He torments you, ‘Don’t nobody care about you. Go ahead and die.’ That comes when you isolate yourself from everybody.
“I begin to put on strength because I went to the West Clinic and began to see other people fighting with their treatments,” Coppage added. “I realized I was not just doing this for me. I’m doing it for those who are too weak and who don’t have the strength to fight.”
In most fights you need physical strength. The radiation and chemo ripped a lot of Coppage’s physicality. But her backbreaker came in the form of one of the side effects from chemo.
“But the hardest thing for me battling breast cancer was my hair coming out,” she said with tears in her eyes. “When all my hair came out and I was bald, it was like I was stripped naked.
“When they say your hair is your glory, I understood that more now than ever,” Coppage added. “I don’t take having hair, eyebrows and eyelashes for granted. I don’t take being able to taste food. When I was having chemo, I couldn’t taste food. I was eating just to be eating. A lot of time we take that for granted being able to taste the seasoning in your food. I don’t take that for granted anymore. I don’t take life for granted anymore.”
It was the taste of food that contributed to saving Coppage’s life.
“I will say to young women please go get your mammograms,” she said. “And what made me go get a mammogram was one of the strangest things. I would eat fried chicken and it would give me trapped gas. It would make me hurt in my lower back.
“So I thought it was gas but I decided to go the hospital,” Coppage continued. “And there was nothing wrong but she decided to give me a mammogram. She said I’m going to do a mammogram. God gave me trapped gas. That good ole fried chicken caused me to have gas so I would go to the doctor. I hadn’t too long before had a mammogram. So I wasn’t thinking about getting another one. It might have been Stage Three or Stage Four. I do advise young ladies and men to get those mammograms.”
Now with firm faith, renewed strength spiritually, mentally and physically, Coppage is enjoying life cancer free.
“I had the zero-negative cancer,” she noted. “It’s the fast-eating cancer. It feels good to be here today. I owe the honor to God. I can’t take credit for that. It was God who saw me through it.
“He’s a healer,” Coppage concluded. “I don’t take any of it for granted because many have loss their lives battling cancer. I’m giving them honor because they fought that cancer but they didn’t beat it. I’m grateful. God did it.”