Carlsbad, California-resident Shay Chawla, who was diagnosed at age 40, had a lumpectomy in December 2019 and a mastectomy in February. She is currently on hormone blockers.
Turning 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. Media say’s 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 six months.
Late September 2019, my body was signaling me that something was wrong. That was a sign to go and see my doctor and the rest is CANCER history. Our bodies and mind’s 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 disappears. Imagine seeing a Victoria secret advertisement with a flat chested women? 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. Well today, I am looking forward to go bra shopping for my new rack soon.
Post DMX when I came home, which was the most exciting part, my kids greeted me at the door with flowers, cards etc. I was very careful to hide the drains in my flannel shirt. I remember having lunch at the dinner table, when suddenly my daughter yelled at me "Mommy, OMG OMG the doctor forgot to remove the tubes from your body."
The drains sneaked out of my flannel shirt. At first I did not get what she was saying, then my husband started laughing to keep it cool and relaxed in front of the kids. Well that surely put a smile on my face.
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 a HUMAN right! 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; my body 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 everything and anything to live this beautiful life and dance and be merry always.
I made a lot of positive changes and today 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 a MBA degree, but today is actually when I feel SMART and much more confidant of 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 wants to move on, BUT cancer patients live at gunpoint with
the fear of re-occurrence. Why not get rid of that gun 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 everyday. It’s evolving and will continue to do so till I live.
People often tell me “ You Got this.” Have I? I think I have NOW. I started the IG “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