Yolanda Lowe’s story is at once heartbreaking and life-affirming
By ELLYN SANTIAGO
Survivor Series: Meet Yolanda Lowe
Grieving the sudden, and devastating, death of her cherished husband, it was the couple’s beloved dog Bella, pictured left with Yolanda, who never left her side. And soon, would likely save her life.
Yolanda Lowe’s story is at once heartbreaking and life-affirming. A story of loss and of survival.
It was a summer day. Yolanda was on her way home from a listing appointment. She, her husband and Bella had plans to attend a summer concert in Essex. Calling to let him know she was on her way; he could not be reached. She could not locate him and by the late evening, she’d learn that her husband had died in a car accident. Their best friend Bella had been in the car and had survived. A blessing in the midst of a shattering tragedy.
“ I believe that God and my husband ensured that Bella survived to be my guardian angel,” Yolanda said. “When she returned home, she never left my side.”
Yolanda said she felt it was “such a blessing to have her dog Bella, and a message from her husband.” A “spiritual friend and teacher,” told her that her husband had died instantly, and Bella saw him go into “the light.” And that her husband told Bella to stay behind to take care of Yolanda so that she wouldn’t be alone.
Yolanda spent months grieving, with Bella always close. Then, one day in September, having “spent my days on the couch, crying and reading spiritual books to help me cope,” Bella made a fortuitous discovery.
“She accidentally landed on my right breast, causing me severe pain that lasted for a few days and turned black and blue,” Yolanda recalled. “I immediately contacted my doctor.”
Bella had discovered the lump on Yolanda’s right breast. Immediate surgery was urged. But Yolanda asked if it could wait two days. She had somewhere to be the next day.
“ I was scheduled to walk in the marathon the next day,” she said. “To my surprise, she agreed to schedule the surgery for Monday.”
Yolanda has walked the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation Annual Walk for A Cure since its inception in 2006. And when she was diagnosed, and postponed her surgery to walk, she didn’t want to receive the flower at the end of the closing ceremony, she said. But she said her TBBCF friends encouraged her to walk up to the podium, including “dear friend” Sandy Maniscalco, who she walks with every year. Sandy handed her a flower and everyone’s tears flowed. At that moment, Yolanda said she felt surrounded by “family” with so much love and support.
So, the next day, she was perhaps emotionally prepared and underwent a lumpectomy. It was then discovered she was “borderline stage 3,” Yolanda explained.
Following the surgery, she underwent daily radiation for 12 weeks and was on medication for a few years.
“Last year, my oncologist dismissed me for good health and advised me to follow up with my doctor,” she said. “I continue to go for mammograms every six months.”
Yolanda said she was blessed with a wonderful marriage and her dog, Bella, who discovered her breast cancer.
“This has taught me that we can plan our retirement and our future, but it’s all in God’s hands, and we have to pivot towards what God wants us to do,” she shared. “I must keep my faith and follow God’s plan for me.”
A celebrated and highly successful Realtor with William Pitt Sotheby’s Realty in Essex, Yolanda Tine Lowe is past president of the New Haven Middlesex Association of Realtors, and has served on myriad civic and community boards and committees including the Essex Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity. She has also supported shoreline food pantries. And, as a health and wellness advocate, she participates in the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation’s marathon every year.