By: Demitria Lyles
From: Shawn Ware
"Ironically enough in 2008 I made a suggestion to my cycling class that we participate in the 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk 2009 to support cancer survivors and raise money for innovative research. While showering in early January I felt a lump that did not feel normal. Little did I know that I would be diagnosed with breast cancer February 2009. As one could imagine the shock, surprise and disbelief that came over me once I received the phone call. The conversation was casual. My doctors exact words were, “you know that little lump you found……it’s a little cancerous”. Til this day I’m not exactly sure what I said, but I do remember dropping the phone and crying profusely. How could this happen, I’m a vegetarian, I exercise at least 4 times a week, I don’t drink nor do I smoke…..this couldn’t be happening. Truth be told, cancer is not prejudice at all. Once I came to and gained my composer then it was an immediate change of attitude. I do remember asking the doctor what needs to happen and how soon can it happen. I was ready to start the process. Approximately three weeks later I had a lumpectomy. Shortly after, during an appointment to discuss treatment and review my pathology report is when I found out that finding the lump myself put me barely at stage 1 and I had Triple Negative Breast Cancer and I had only heard breast cancer so I knew Triple Negative Breast Cancer was either the really good kind, if there is such a thing or a really bad kind. I soon found out it was the really bad kind and required very aggressive treatment. Triple Negative means that the growth of the cancer is not supported by the hormones estrogen and progesterone, nor by the presence of too many HER2 receptors. Therefore testing negative for all three means the cancer is triple-negative.
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy hence the aggressive treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. I underwent 8 rounds of chemotherapy which was stretched out over 4 months and 38 rounds (7 ½ weeks) of daily radiation. Two weeks after completing radiation I participated in the 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk with the Winship Cancer Institute Team in support for myself, my dear friend Paula Gomes, many other survivors and supporters. My journey like so many is full of ups and downs, evens and flows, but with the support of family, friends and other survivors I never felt alone.
The sister hood of breast cancer survivors is one that I will never take for granted and I will treasure forever. My continued survivorship walk is one that is full of life, energy and sharing my story to help lift up others. Wellness and promoting fitness has always been my life, but being a breast cancer survivor has allowed me to stress the importance of healthy eating and physical fitness. Surviving Triple Negative Breast Cancer is an accomplishment that I will always be proud of. I am committed to living a healthy lifestyle, helping others and continued survivorship.
Shawn Ware is now a three year, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Survivor. Like many of you ladies, she is avid runner, cyclist, innovator, mom, daughter, and wife. Let this story be an amazing testimony that you can be motivated by or pass on to motivate someone else!
This month wear PINK in support of those loved ones that have fought or are on their journey to beating breast cancer!