A breast cancer survivor can help newly diagnosed breast cancer patients learn from women who have faced similar experiences before. Although only 1 in 227 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their 30s (National Cancer Institute) such cases are often more aggressive. We hope you find Sheyanne’s breast cancer survivor story educational and inspiring.
Breast Cancer Survivor — Sheyanne B.
They say you don’t know your own strength until strength is the only option you have. Well on June 8, 2011, I unexpectedly was about to find out just how strong I was. I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting in that cold, white doctor’s office for almost an hour…and when my doctor finally entered the room, I suddenly wished she had made me wait a few hours longer. Most of it was a blur.
But I’ll never forget the following three words: Cancer. Aggressive. Chemo.
I was 31 years old. And I had small breasts. No way could this be happening to me. Although I had heard the statistics ~1 and 8 women~ those were other women. Older women. Unhealthy women. There had to be a mistake.
I spent the next two days feeling sorry for myself. Asking why me? What had I done to deserve this? Wondering if I would die without having had the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a mom. But on day three, the self-pity and self-doubt came to a crashing halt. The warrior in me took over and vowed to fight this horrible disease with everything I had. I would not give up until I kicked cancer’s butt! And most importantly, I promised never to give up on my faith, or change the person I was in the process.
I had no idea then that over the next year and a half I would undergo nine months of intense chemotherapy, three surgeries and six and a half weeks of daily radiation. Not to mention my former surgeon telling me I would likely die after the first round of treatment did not work. (That doctor obviously had no idea who he was talking to!) I found comfort in creating a blog to document my journey, including the mental, emotional, and physical struggles I was enduring. Not only did it allow me to be honest with myself, but it was also a great way to keep all of my family and friends updated without having to individually reach out to them, which was especially difficult when I wasn’t feeling well. And it always turned out that I would receive the most supportive comments when I needed them the most.
I would be lying if I said that this wasn’t the toughest thing I have ever gone through. I was incredibly sick. I got burned. Some days I couldn’t walk. I lost my hair. I lost my independence. But the physical pain had nothing on the pain I experienced from seeing my loved ones have to stand by and watch me suffer. I have the most amazing husband in the world. He fought along side of me every step of the way. But no husband should ever have to carry his wife to the bathroom because she is too sick to walk on her own. And no mother should have to fear whether she is going to have to attend her baby girl’s funeral. And no sister should have to wonder whether her unborn daughter will have an Auntie to grow up with.
I was one of the lucky ones. Not only did I kick cancer’s butt, I did it surrounded by an incredible group of family and friends that supported me every step of the way. And when Dr. Lisa Curcio and my medical oncologist took over, I knew that I had two additional guardian angels looking over me! Their dedication, unwavering support and relentless determination to make sure I won this battle was nothing short of extraordinary.
In December of 2013, I will be two years cancer free! And although I am incredibly blessed to be alive, saving my own life is simply not enough!! I am committed to spending my life making sure that no more mothers/husbands/sisters/friends have to watch their loved ones go through what I went through. I will race, I will walk 60 miles in three days, I will bake, I will dance, I will do whatever it takes to find a cure for this horrible disease.
Cancer is a lot of things. It’s ugly. It’s scary. It’s debilitating. It’s non-discriminatory. But most importantly, it’s BEATABLE!!!