The 52-year-old star of BET’s “Being Mary Jane” had been having lower abdominal pain and thought she had a urinary tract infection. Vidal went to the doctor after having visited her sister in San Francisco, who also had breast cancer.
“Cancer runs in my family,” says Vidal, acknowledging her mother had the disease too.
Her doctor did a full exam, a mammogram and an ultrasound. While the mammogram didn’t show anything was wrong, the ultrasound did. Vidal had a biopsy right away. She had surgery the next month. She chose a double mastectomy because she didn’t want to worry about the breast cancer coming back.
“It may have been drastic for some people but it was the right choice for me,” says Vidal, an ultrasound advocate, who had breast reconstruction in April 2016.
These days, the “Rosewood” actress and her sister are doing well. Vidal gets checkups every six months and will take breast cancer medicine for 10 years. “I really try to live my life having faith that I am healed and that I’m ok,” she says, feeling grateful for the early diagnosis. “I try to just live my life and appreciate it.”
Vidal leads a balanced life and eats healthy, including avoiding sugar and soy. She tries to minimize stress through things that joy, happiness and peace like exercise, dancing, singing and socializing with friends. “And sometimes I shop,” she laughs.
The married mother of three urges other women to get regular checkups.
“Be proactive so if there ever is anything, they can find it early,” Vidal says. “It can be dealt with. You can live. You can survive it.”
Next, she encourages women to educate themselves as much as possible. “Think about what the real options are and how they benefit you or don’t benefit you,” she says.
Vidal encourages women to find doctors they’re comfortable with and to accept support from their family and friends.“It’s so important for women to just live in the moment, in that day and not kill themselves with worry because that’s really disruptive.”