09/24/2012 10:01 am ET Updated Nov 24, 2012

A Message For Mitt: I'm A Survivor, Not A Victim

As a proud American of a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, I take my right to vote extremely seriously and prayerfully. Growing up, my parents instilled that my grades, choices, work ethic, and decisions should be a reflection of my household values and my faith in God. I endeavored to live up to those ideals and tried to live a life where I would add value to this society as a productive citizen.

As a child of God, an American, and an African-American woman, I embrace and love the way God chose to form me. I do not believe that I am a victim because I am African-American or a woman. The God who made us all looks upon the heart. With love, so can we.

I sincerely tried to, and continue to try to, live the American dream. I earned academic scholarships based on my grades. I sometimes worked so late at my law firm that I left work to change clothes as people returned to work in the morning. I have worked weekends, holidays, late hours because I felt out of integrity that was the right thing to do.

When I was diagnosed with cancer at 36, it was not in my history, and it was not because of any abuse to my body. One of the worst feelings that I had was guilt. Because I could not work due to my treatments, I wondered if I was doing something "wrong" and if I was a dredge on society. Graduating summa cum laude in finance, I actually conducted an analysis if based on my medical bills whether I was "worth more dead or alive." With all being said and debated about healthcare, I looked at the "cost of staying alive" versus "continuing the battle." Being a child of God tipped the scales for me! :)

My employer has been tremendously supportive as I go in to my fifth year of chemo treatments. I am blessed in the middle of a battle because I have insurance that provides me with access to wonderful healthcare providers, and I am graced to still have a home and quality of life. Yes, I continue to pay my taxes.

Part of my insurance is through Medicare now. It is simply the case. I am not alone. There are people who are in more perilous positions than I am. As I write this, I am not writing as a cancer victim, I am writing as an American who cares about this country and its people. Since I am battling chronic cancer, taking some form of chemo five days a week, does Mitt Romney view me as an unproductive citizen who depends on the government, a victim or does he look at me and others Americans like me with compassion? I simply do not know. I am grateful, however, for how God blesses and continues to bless my life.

I try to have tough skin, but Mitt Romney's comments really hurt my feelings. I am a survivor, not a victim.