Shauna Wears Pink

I will never forget the day my doctor uttered those horrifying words “I am sorry to tell you, but that is a cancer tumor that you have in your left breast”. I was 33 years old, and my life changed forever. I invite you to read my story, learn from it and hopefully be inspired to reach out to other young women living with and beyond breast cancer.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My Sister has breast cancer too!


Just as I was thinking my life could not get any worse, my younger sister called and said that she had breast cancer too. When I was diagnosed I called my sister and told her that she should go get a mammogram. She did so immediately, and low and behold she had not one but two lumps in her left breast. She too had a biopsy and sure enough she had the same invasive, ductal carcinoma cancer in her left breast that I had. Hers was at an earlier stage in that it had not spread into her lymph nodes. My sister’s breast cancer differed from mine slightly in that it was positive for the dreaded HER-2 receptor. Both of our cancers were estrogen and progesterone positive (ER and PR positive). So at the ages of 33 and 31, respectively, we were both diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. All I could think about was “How could this happen to us? Why, Why, Why?” Although I realized that my diagnosis had lead to an earlier diagnosis of my sister’s breast cancer and probably saved her life, I still felt somehow guilty and responsible for the pain that lay ahead for her. She was advised that she had no choice but to have a mastectomy of her left breast because she had two separate tumors in different quadrants of her breast, so after much thought and deliberation she elected to go ahead and do a double mastectomy to prevent any future breast cancer in the right breast. Luckily she would be one of the first to receive the new miracle drug, Herceptin, designed to directly target the HER-2 respecter in her cancer. She would also need to endure 2-3 months of grueling chemotherapy, followed like me with tamoxifen for at least 5 years. My sister having just been married for a couple months has no children. She, too, began to research the best options for her to preserve her fertility so that she could someday have children. Now that my sister had breast cancer, we had our own club of two. We had a built in support network. We began to consult each other almost daily on everything from our treatments to what type and color of wigs to buy, to the optimal time to shave your head to avoid the trauma of loosing it strand by strand.

1 Comments:

  • At 1:35 PM, Blogger Sandy said…

    Shauna -

    Thank you so much for sharing your inner thoughts with us. I've been reading each one and think of you all more than you know. Please keep writing as it has to help you. Please know that it helps all of us reading as well. We love you for your courage and strength, among many other things.

     

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