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.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Why, Why, Why?

I thought I was done asking the question “Why” until last week when I learned that one of my friends and a fellow young breast cancer survivor was diagnosed with a metastasis of her breast cancer (i.e. her breast cancer has shown up in other organs of her body.) I held it together all day, but in the car on the way home I finally let myself break down. My son was in the car with me and kept asking me why I was sad. The only appropriate thing I could think of to say was “one of mommy’s friends is sick”. My mind just kept screaming why, why, why her? There is just no logical explanation as to why breast cancer reoccurs and metastasizes in one person, but not another. The research does show that breast cancer is more likely to be more aggressive and more advanced in younger women. However, that still does not answer the question of why the chemotherapy and hormone therapy seem to work for one person, but not the next……and more importantly did the chemotherapy and hormone therapy work for me? I know that my reaction to this situation is a bit irrational, but my fear of a recurrence of my own is very real. Over the next few days I began to freak out over every little potential ache or pain, thinking…”What is that?” “Is my cancer back?” “Is it in my bones?” For the last few months I have been plagued with bouts of bronchitis and asthma, so I called up my doctor to see if I needed a chest X-ray. He did not think I needed a chest X-ray, so I made an appointment with him to try to convince him that I need a PET Scan instead which would show any cancer in my body. Again, I know I am being a little irrational, but this is how I deal with my fear of a recurrence. It is the only way I know how to deal with it. I try to work out every day because I know that decreases my chance of a recurrence by 50%. I try to eat healthy organic foods because I know that pesticides contribute to breast cancer. I take my Tamoxifen (hormone therapy) every day, despite its unpleasant side effects. The problem is my friend did all these things too, so why her and not me? It’s almost as if the cancer has already determined what it is going to do and there is nothing I can do about it, but wait and see if it comes back. So, I reaffirm my pledge to continue to make sure that I live each day of my life to the fullest. Yesterday with my husband and son, I visited a local springs and waterfall. I eagerly climbed up a big rock to stand directly under the waterfall so that I could feel the ice cold spring water pour over my entire body and then I jumped off into the deep blue swimming hole below. I felt so alive! Right then and there, I promised myself that I would take more time out of my busy schedule to do things that make me feel that alive!


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