From Cancer to Queen
Looking at me today, you would never know I spent two years recovering from six months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and three months of radiation. I don’t think any cancer survivor ever expects to travel this road. It was the hardest three years of my life. However, when I look back now, I know I went through this journey for a purpose: to become well.
I found the lump in my breast while doing a self-exam at home. This wasn’t the miraculous part: I had spent 30 minutes watching a breast-cancer program and saw something I never saw before, which led to my discovery.
I remember waking up early before anyone in my house that Saturday morning in June 2016. I turned on the television, only to find there was nothing on that I wanted to see, so I ended up watching a program on breast cancer. They showed pictures of what breast cancer can look like. I saw a picture of a dimple and decided I would take a look in the mirror. I did a double take as I lifted my arm and saw a dimple on my breast. It looked like a cellulite dimple. I felt around the area and knew it was a lump.
On Monday, I immediately scheduled every test I needed that week, from a mammogram to a biopsy. By Friday, my nurse called me and I heard the words, “Candi, it’s cancer.” From that day forward, I began documenting my journey and shared it just so I could help another women save her life. After chemo, I wore a wig for a few weeks but soon stopped wearing it when I shaved my head. I got stopped throughout the day by women who just had to tell me they were a survivor or they’d lost someone to cancer. I never knew how many brave warriors I was surrounded by in my office alone.
The diagnosis changed my life in more ways than one. I began researching day and night because I wasn’t getting answers from doctors. I switched up my family’s eating habits, incorporating organic foods and eliminating foods with preservatives. I started exercising and limiting stress. I finally arrived at a place where I truly valued my life enough to take care of me.
You see, I had hormone-positive breast cancer, stage 3. This wasn’t hereditary. I knew there were some things I could have done differently in my lifetime that would have helped me avoid cancer. At the same time, I felt angry—why didn’t anyone educate me as a young woman about wellness and breast health? I knew it was my mission to share my story so other women, young and old, would know the impacts of stress and poor diet.
I am thankful now for the journey. I know my daughter’s life will be marked by wellness and self-care because of what I’ve gone through. I know that by sharing my story, I’ll help a woman get the mammogram she has been putting off. I know I want to spread hope. My journey toward wellness is one that so many survivors experience, and we are forever changed by it.