SHONDIA, a wife and mother of two is not shy or afraid to tell everyone who cared to listen how she lost her two breasts to cancer. Rather than wallow in self pity, she is using her new condition to inspire people living with cancer. NDIDI OBADIAH reports.
It was December 23, 2010. I didn’t have lumps, discomfort, or discharge. I had no symptoms of breast cancer. It was simply the Holy Spirit that whispered to me, “You need to get a mammogram!” I’m so thankful I was able to get one. Two weeks later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in both breasts! In my right breast, I had stage 0. I also had two different types of cancer in my right breast, DCIS and LCIS. In my left breast, I had DCIS and I had 2 stages of cancer. One area was stage 0 and another area was stage 1A, that was near a blood vessel” said Shondia.
Recounting further, she said, I made the decision to have a mastectomy, a week before my surgery. Since those little breasts turned on me and became cancerous, I didn’t want anything else to do with them. Both of them had to go”
Explaining how her new health status has affected her relationship with family and friends, she said, I found out who was for me and who wasn’t (family and friends) and I’m so thankful the truth was revealed.
The mother of two said she never opted for artificial breast or prosthesis because she was not ready to put herself through anything that will discomfort her. Adding that: “I don’t need more breasts or prosthesis! I was never depressed or angry and I never will be! I’m on a mission to inspire people that are affected by cancer. I don’t even miss those little cancerous breasts! I took care of them for 36 years and surprisingly, they decided to turn on me! However, my husband is a happily married man and he’s still in love with me”
The one word Shondia wants women to understand when they see her is hope. Hope that there is life after breast cancer. Hope that you can still be you and even be a better you after breast cancer surgery. Hope that women everywhere will do what they need to do to take care of their bodies.
Her organization, Bold & Breastless is planning a national speaking tour soon to help get the word out. In the meantime, you can find and interact with Bold and Breastless on facebook.
Research Intelligence correspondent interviewed Dr. Adenike Fagbemi , a medical expert with State Specialist Hospital Akure, for more information on breast cancer.
Dr. Fagbemi who said her family has a history of breast cancer and having lost two aunts to it availed herself for the test and the lump discovered was quickly removed and since then she is free.
She further advised that early detection is key in breast cancer prevention and treatment. Therefore, women of all ages should check their breasts every four to six weeks.
What to look out for are; the first, and most common, signs of breast cancer are:
1-LUMP IN THE BREAST – 9% of these lumps are benign and confused with cysts. Breast cysts are sacs of fluid in the breast tissue, which are quite common.
2- A LUMP OR THICKENED AREA in either breast or in the underarm area, it can be detected by regular self-examination for breast cancer.
3- A CHANGE IN SIZE OR SHAPE of one or both breasts.
4- PAIN in either breast or armpit unrelated to your period.
-Coming from either nipple, it may be bloody, or-
-Milky, if present when not breastfeeding you should be checked by a doctor right away.
-Dimpling or sunken skin on your breasts, often referred to as “orange-peel,” from similarity of appearance
7- RASHES AND REDNESS
-Rashes around your nipple
-Redness or an enlarged underarm lymph node