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.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Have Wig, Will Work

The question I seem to get asked most often these days is, “When do you plan to go back to work?” The question never ceases to surprise me, and my response is always, “I never stopped working.” The truth is I worked what would be considered full time hours, even for a lawyer, throughout my treatment for breast cancer. When I was first diagnosed and met with my oncologist I fully expected that he would tell me that I would be too sick to work in between chemotherapy treatments which are administered every three weeks. Instead he told me that he planned to work them around my schedule and that by doing them on Fridays I would have the weekend to recover. He also assured me that modern medicine had come a long way in its efforts to minimize the side-effects of chemotherapy such as nausea. He was partially right. For me the nausea was pretty de-habilitating for a few days after each treatment, but by Tuesday of the following week I could usually muster the strength to get out of bed, get dressed and drive myself to work. In fact, my work as a corporate attorney turned out to be my salvation. If I could just muster up the strength to get in front of my computer, then I could lose myself in whatever legal matter my clients sent my way. My work kept me from dwelling on the constant pain and never ending side-effects that comes with heavy doses of chemotherapy. Work also helped me feel like a normal person. I invested in a couple nice brown wigs that looked much like my pre-cancer hair. Once I put on my wig and headed out the door, no one was the wiser. I could anonymously make my way through the day without any of those “Poor You” looks that I always got when I did not wear a wig. I feel like my work as an attorney really kept me from sliding into a big “pity party”. I simply stayed too busy with my work and spending time with my son to dwell on how miserable I felt. So I am so thankful to the partners in my law firm and my clients for hanging in there with me this past year. It really has been my saving grace.


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