Life After Breast Cancer

Article posted in: Lifestyle

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, in honor of this annual campaign, we reached out to breast cancer survivor and Nutrisystem success story, Shannon F.

Now 45, Shannon was diagnosed with breast cancer at 34. After opting to have a mastectomy and undergoing three months of chemotherapy, this incredibly upbeat lady was deemed cancer-free―and has been for 11 years.

How did you discover that you had breast cancer?
“Ladies: this is why it’s so important to know your body―so that when changes occur, you can be one step ahead. I have no family history of breast cancer. However, I always kept an eye out because I had dense breast tissue and lots of little cysts. I could actually feel that I had a cyst that was growing. When my doctor asked if I wanted to do a needle biopsy or lumpectomy, I said, ‘Let’s take it out.’ I guess I just had a feeling. So when I was coming out of anesthesia and my doctor said, ‘We found some cancer cells; we can discuss your options,’ I wasn’t surprised. Somehow I guess I knew. I wasn’t afraid, though. I just viewed it as a bump in the road of life and I would just have to do what was needed to get past it and continue on my journey.”

How did your experience with breast cancer shape the person you’ve become?
“I had always considered myself a strong person but after going through this experience, I realized that I was way stronger than I had imagined. If I can get through this, I can get through anything! I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore―it’s just not worth it. There’s so much more to life than some of the trivial things we tend to worry about. Life is short and we never know what tomorrow’s going to bring. Enjoy today. Surround yourself with beauty. Revel in the love and happiness that your friends and family bring. Good friends, good food, good wine and a beautiful tablescape―one of my favorite things in life!”

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It’s still very hard for me to ask for help, but I will when I need it―and I’m okay with that now. I know that it’s just not possible to do everything yourself―and you shouldn’t have to. We’re here for a limited amount of time and one of the most important things we can do is help our fellow man. I’ve always tried to live a life of service, but being on the receiving end has always been difficult for me. However, I’ve gotten a lot better at it and will not only graciously accept help when offered, but will also seek it when needed. That was one of the reasons I turned to Nutrisystem for weight loss help. I just couldn’t do it on my own. My body had changed―I’m not 20 anymore. I couldn’t drop the weight like I used to. But I was tired of being overweight and feeling miserable. I didn’t feel like me and I wanted to find Shannon again. And I must say, I was pleasantly surprised and extremely happy with my results. I lost 25 pounds on Nutrisystem and have been working to keep it off!”*

What did you like about the Nutrisystem program?
“First of all, I loved the breakfasts. I’m not a breakfast person, even though I know it’s the most important meal of the day. I’m just not a morning person so it takes me a while to get going after I get up. But I loved Nutrisystem® breakfasts so much, I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning just so I could have breakfast! And I loved the fact that I wasn’t bound to only eating Nutrisystem® food. Don’t get me wrong, the food is delicious. But you’re not bound to a strict regimen day in and day out. You have the freedom to make other healthy choices for yourself. This paves the way for when you come off Nutrisystem―you’re already in the habit of making great choices.”

“I also feel great! It’s amazing how just losing five pounds can make you feel―let alone 25! I can fit into my clothes again and I actually like getting dressed! I also have more energy and I’ve gotten my zest for life back!”

Advice for someone who is struggling with her weight?
“I know what it feels like to struggle with your weight. I’ve dealt with it my whole life. But the good news is, we don’t have to go through it alone. It’s OK to seek help and Nutrisystem is a wonderful system that really works. Not only do they have great-tasting, perfectly portioned entrees and snacks, they teach us how to eat smart and create a healthy lifestyle to maintain our weight. This may be stuff we already know, but sometimes we just need a partner to help get us over that hump and back on track. Just don’t fret about it. You CAN do it―and Nutrisystem can help!”

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And what about someone who is newly diagnosed with breast cancer?
“As with anything in life, stay positive. I’m not going to sugarcoat it and tell you it’s a walk in the park, because it’s definitely not. But the good thing to remember is breast cancer is treatable, especially when it’s caught in the early stages. So ladies, I can’t stress it enough: Know your body! Do your monthly exams and don’t ignore what your body is telling you. And if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, surround yourself with positive, loving people. Try not to focus on fear and negativity. That doesn’t serve any purpose at all. You’d be amazed at just how strong you are when called upon to be. You might have your down days, and that’s ok. That’s a part of this roller coaster we call life. But positive, loving, healing energy is what you need to get through this… and you will!”

*Expect to lose 5 lbs your first week, for an avg 1-2 lbs per week on program. Compensated Customer.