Laura, Surviving Breast Cancer
No family history, 34 years old, and yet one look in the mirror after a workout made Laura wonder why the left side of her body didn’t look like the right side. Later reflecting back, Laura realized that these changes to her body were not an overnight change. Why did she not REALLY pay attention to these changes before? This question is not to insinuate blame, but we often dismiss our body and changes as normal...
I can relate, totally relate. And my mom was a two time breast cancer survivor and yet I never saw this slowly sunken nipple as a possible sign of cancer, but old age. Old age at 37 in my case? Laura and I have chatted on the phone and on my Podcast now about getting more knowledge out there, teaching others that breast cancer is not always a lump. Teaching others to be your own best advocate. I always say, “Any change to your breast for longer than a month is a reason to start a conversation with your doctor.”
Laura heard and experienced many myths from her journey and saw an opportunity to provide more resources to survivors and caregivers for breast cancer. One common phrase Laura heard is, “You are too young for breast cancer”. While age does increase one risk’s factor for all cancers, I have too many friends diagnosed in their 20’s and 30’s to dispute this myth. Breast Cancer does not discriminate.
Another misconception that Laura discusses is the relaxed and cavalier way that we all refer to screenings, as though they are insignificant, just a test... however they can change your life, they can create fear and they can change your life from that moment forward. Laura recommends taking a friend or loved one to the appointment, having realistic expectations that you may not immediately rush to work following the meeting. Scheduling at the end of the day may be preferable or on a day off.
Laura describes her passion project www.survivingbreastcancer.org as the culmination of all her talents in education and survivor experience. When she was diagnosed, she expected it would be easy to meet other survivors in the area. However, it was more difficult than she expected. Now with her breast cancer website and resource she plans meet ups, activities (painting, vision boards, healthy meals) and supports a blog, YouTube channel and a Podcast “Breast Cancer Conversations”. Laura is an amazing survivor, dedicated to giving back to the breast cancer community!