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Shay’s Story (Breast Cancer-Lobular Carcinoma)

shays-story-breast-cancerTurning 40 usually means planning that special getaway with old friends and making a bucket list for the next decade or so. Well, a few months into being 40, I was actually planning how to survive and live to see my kids go through college. Lobular ‘Sneaky Cancer’ attacked my body. The media says mammograms save the boobs, do they? My mammograms were clear, so the cancer news totally threw me on a bandwagon I never thought I would be on. 1 in 8 women get breast cancer, well that’s never going to be me ever? Is it? Breastfeeding saves the boobs, ironic since I breastfeed both my kids for over 6 months.

Late September 2019, my body was signaling to me that something was wrong. That was a sign to go and see my doctor and the rest is CANCER history. Our bodies and minds are connected, and we should listen to them.

Today after two surgeries, I am still recovering and waiting for my final exchange surgery. Being without boobs is a feeling no one can ever explain, describe, or even imagine. For a woman, her sex appeal and mojo suddenly disappear. Imagine seeing a Victoria’s Secret advertisement with a flat chested woman. With no cleavage, or sexy dresses, all I wanted to do was hide inside my baggy sweatshirts, even on a perfect California evening. On the flip side, my bra expenses for a few months were NIL. Now, I am looking forward to going bra shopping for my new rack soon.

I was determined to not let cancer rule or dictate my life or me. Well, it was not always positive for me; I am still human. My husband was my rock and said, “Let’s fight it, beat it and get rid of it”. Pre-cancer, I was getting complacent about health; and I guess cancer was my wake-up call. It felt like a reality check to either change or get back to the old unhealthy life. I chose the first. Research on nutrition, products became my new hobby. I wanted to live this beautiful life and dance and be merry always.

I made a lot of positive changes and now I am 25 pounds thinner, much more active and leading a much-informed life on what I eat or use on my body. I thought I was smart with an MBA degree, but today is actually when I feel really smart and much more confident in living this life and educating my next generation with confidence.

All I can say is that no one can ever understand the emotions a cancer patient goes through, family/friends want to move on, BUT cancer patients live at gunpoint with the fear of re-occurrence. Why not keep that gun from ever coming near us? Stay informed on how you should live and what you should eat, and the rest will be history.

I am learning about myself and this new journey every day. It’s evolving and will continue to do so while I live.

People often tell me “You Got this”. Have I? I think I have NOW. I started the Instagram “cancerupickedthewrongbitch” to use that as a platform to talk about the real emotions with my pink sisters, laugh a little and add some humor to our crazy C life.

Mastectomy hadn’t made me disabled
But I felt understandably unstable
Had I lost my humor
Along with the tumor
No, I just “left tit” on the operating table

Submitted 08/07/2020

This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.

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