People are always striving to achieve personal goals and overcome obstacles, making them everyday achievers. Forty-year-old Krisinda Whitley is a mother of four and a professional photographer. Always on the go between taking care of the household and running her own company, it came as a surprise to all when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer just last year.
“I was in shock,” Whitley said.
“It didn’t seem real,” Whitley’s close friend, Erin Beverly said through tears.
After the initial diagnosis, Whitley said she didn’t have time for a major procedure. “I can’t have surgery right now,” she told the nurses. “My daughter has Prom and Graduation. I have obligations.” However, this was not something she could ignore for long.
“I really didn’t know what to feel,” Whitley’s husband, Jerry Whitley, said. “I remember feeling grateful because I had just come across a job where we had insurance. But I was the support I had to be when needed.”
Whitley was then faced with the difficult decision of surgical options. The only way to ensure that all of her cancer would be removed was by undergoing a full hysterectomy. Though, having this procedure would mean she would no longer be able to have children naturally. Having four children already, Whitley made the choice to ask her husband what he wanted.
“He told me that it was my body and that I needed to make the decision,” Whitley said of her husband. “He didn’t hesitate because in his eyes and their eyes, all the kids are his. So, I decided to take it all just in case.”
The beginning of the road to recovery was slow. Whitley was not able to do much at first until she regained her strength. “She was very positive,” her husband said. “She knew in her heart that the Lord would do whatever it took to take care of her. I don’t think she was ever nervous.”
But only a few nights later, she entered her son’s room shaking him awake as she collapsed onto his bed. “I was in shock,” Whitley’s son, Zachary Lewis, said. “I had to go back to bed because I had school in the morning, but I couldn’t stop thinking about if she was okay.”
Upon being readmitted to the hospital, multiple blood clots were discovered in her lungs. Nurses told her son she was lucky he was there because she needed immediate medical attention.
“They found five large blood clots in my lungs,” Whitley said. “The nurse said ‘if you would have gone to sleep, you wouldn’t be here tomorrow.’”
Through everything Whitley remained more optimistic, placing her faith in the hands of her doctors and above all, in God.
“I think she stayed very strong and got herself through it,” Whitley’s friend and partner, Kristen Williams said. “Aside from the cancer and her struggles, she is a very faithful person in everything she does. She is always there to be inspirational for someone else. Anytime anyone needs something she is there. She always puts others ahead of herself.”
Whitley is still on blood thinning medication today and has a limited diet, but she feels lucky to be alive. Now she is back to doing what she does best; making others smile.
When she started her photography business nearly five years ago, she had no idea how fitting the name would be: “New Beginnings.”
“God gave me a second chance for some reason to do the best I can to fulfill the reason for him and my family,” Whitley said. “Sometimes things happen for a reason and make your eyes open a little bit more. This made me a better person.”