Survivor Typhanny Greene Helping Others Fight Breast Cancer
The Will to Survive
Part 1 of 2
|Typhanny Greene’s world was turned upside down when
she, her mother and her dog were all diagnosed
with cancer in 2018.
place to be. They are great people to work with. It’s very supportive like a back-up family.”
February 2018 will always be a “Month of Infamy” for Greene. That’s when cancer entered her life in a big way.
“My mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer February 2018 on the same day that my dog was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor,” Greene said. “She had to
be put down.”
Greene was taking care of her mother, helping her through the cancer treatments.
“I was providing daily care and just saw the wear and tear and the toll it took on her,” Greene said. “She wasn’t diagnosed until she was in stage four. I believe the
reasons behind that have to do with poverty and lack of health insurance. She was so scared to have medical bills that she didn’t go back to the doctor and get
checked on a regular basis because of that fear of your credit getting shot, not being able to rent or buy a car. That was a real fear for her. Once her children were
raised — there are four of us whom she raised on her own — what you do after that until you hit 65-years-old and can be on Medicare is really difficult. It’s really
difficult for a single, now childless person. And then the system is kind of scary for people. I tried to help her a number of times. My sisters tried to help her. But it
was so overwhelming for her.”
Greene turned 40 in April 2018 and had a breast exam.
“That’s the first time that they suggest to you that you should go get a mammogram,” Greene said. “But it isn’t mandatory or pushed. You should get it sometime
between 40-50-years-old. If I waited until 50, I would be dead. I don’t know if I would have made it to 50. Seeing everything my mom went through, I made my
appointment right away, not because I was feeling bad or felt anything, but because I saw what happens when you don’t get diagnosed early. I went in and they
called me back and said, ‘We found some unusual things and we would like to do some more pictures.’ I had two biopsies and both came back positive for DCIF,
which is like ductal carcinoma. It was still in the ducts of the breast. It had not spread. It was still in the milk ducts. It wasn’t in my lymph nodes. That was probably
just about the best prognosis that you can get. It was what they call stage zero. If that had been allowed to progress, if I hadn’t gone in, it would have spread all over
and who knows what would have happened.”
Instead of going in for treatment right away after her diagnosis, Greene decided to take care of her mother who had Stage Four uterine cancer. And while she was
caring for her mom, Greene also thought about her own life. Her son was grown and living on his own. She had never seen the ocean and felt that there was so
much she wanted to do with her life. She was determined to survive.
“My mom passed September 23rd, which is funny because that is when this issue is going to come out,” Greene said. “I was like, ‘Perfect. Here I am now becoming
an advocate in my community just like she was, just like my grandmother was.’ The Lord works in mysterious ways. Her service was the following Saturday. That
Friday, I went in and had my first lumpectomy, the day before her service. The main thing she had told me about my diagnosis is ‘Just get it out of your body.’ She
used a couple of expletives in there. But she didn’t want me to have to go through the same thing she was going through. Even while she was as sick as can be,
she was still thinking about me. That is just how she was. I could have rescheduled and originally I was just going to have a double mastectomy and be done with
it. And then I switched my surgery to one that doesn’t have such a huge recovery process because I wanted to be with my mom. And it was the best decision for
But the treatment was difficult.
“They took out the area that they thought was cancerous and then they tested it,” Greene said. “The margins weren’t clear, which meant it had spread further in those
months. A couple of weeks later, we went back in and they took out another large chunk. And then I had a reduction and full reconstruction at the same time. I was
like an E-cup. I was very large to begin with. Luckily there was a little bit left, so I am probably a B-cup or something.”
Next issue: The will to survive
On October 5th, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Greene is holding the African American Wellness Brunch at East Madison Community Center. It is free and open to the public.
There will be information and resources there concerning breast and cervical cancer. Greene is grateful for her own recovery and wants to spare others the pain.
For more information, contact Tiffany Greene at 249-0861.
By Jonathan Gramling
There is a saying that God doesn’t give us any more of a burden than he knows we can carry. There are
some extremely strong people in this world, people like Typhanny Greene.
Greene was born and raised in Madison, a third-generation Madisonian. Greene said that she is an
“east side gal” and a proud graduate of East High School. While Greene lives within her means, she has
to be careful because there is little margin for error. It seems that she has everything planned down to
Greene has immediate family in Madison, but also has developed a “family” at the East Madison
“I have worked at EMCC nine years in December,” Greene said. “I’m the admin assistant, all around gal.
I keep Tom and John in line, especially John. I love being able to give back in my own way. It’s a great