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It all started with a Beyonce concert… By guest blogger, Channte K.

It was one of the best nights of my life. After having front row seats to the Beyonce Formation concert, I was on an ultimate high. I crashed in the bed at 1:00 am, anxiously looking to recap the night. I scrolled through picture after picture on my phone, grinning at how remarkable the night had been. As I rested my phone near my chest to brace for a better view, I could see a raised lump. The site of the lump was not too frightening at the time, but I immediately knew that whatever the knot was, it didn’t belong there.

One month later; after an OBGYN visit, a mammogram, an ultrasound and a biopsy, I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 3, 2016 at 36 years old. This was the start of my cancer journey.

After the initial shock, to me it was simple. If it were up to me, my treatment plan would be to have the tumor surgically removed and then continue on with my life after a few weeks. But it’s far more complicated than that.

I was diagnosed with Stage 2, estrogen positive invasive ductal carcinoma. When you’re diagnosed, it seems as if the process moves very swiftly at first. A plethora of hard decisions that impact the rest of your life have to be made in a matter of days. Having said that, in three weeks post diagnosis, I removed both breast. I thought that having a double mastectomy was enough. The doctors thought otherwise.

My surgical oncologist insisted that I do radiation. It was my plastic surgeon that rebutted that course of treatment. I did a second surgery to remove additional skin against my surgical oncologist wishes but with my plastic surgeons persistence. My plastic surgeon secured clear margins during my second surgery. But to my surprise and horror there were still 1 cm of cancer cells left in my right breast. Although I avoided radiation because of my second procedure. I still had to do chemotherapy.

No one tells you how much you lose when you have cancer. Since I had surgery and chemotherapy, I lost my breast, my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and the possibility for more children. There were mornings when I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself.

But the beautiful thing about my journey is that I gained so much more than I lost. A year later, most of what cancer took has been replaced with something much better. I have hair and my eyebrows and eyelashes back. I also have new breast thanks to reconstructive surgery.

But that’s not what’s most important. I have met some incredible people along this journey. I have found strength and companionship among other survivors. My faith in God has quadrupled. I am more passionate, more loving and more grateful for each day.

I could say that having cancer was some of the worst days of my life. But I won’t. Instead I will say that overcoming cancer gave me a new outlook on life. It was a beautiful experience that was painful at its worst (physically and emotionally), humbling at its core and rewarding in the end.

Now when I look in the mirror I still don’t recognize myself. I’m different. I’m a better version of the old me. I’ve been elevated to a warrior with immense strength and a clear purpose. I certainly have the battle scars to prove it.  I will continue to raise awareness, educate and help others in being their own health advocate and their best selves. ~ Channte

 

Love Amazon? Shop and Make a Donation to Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes at the same time!

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Did you know that you can have Amazon automatically make a donation to Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes every time you place a qualifying order with them? All you have to do is start your order at smile.amazon.com and select Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes as the charity you would like to support. It’s that easy!

The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of your elgible purchases price to SSPW. This offer is valid all year, not just the holidays!

Thank you!

 

Meet our next Wish Recipient, Chanda.

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At age 28 you don’t expect to hear you have cancer. I went in for a routine check up, and while being examined my doctor asked if I notice that my nipple was inverted inward. I explained that its been like that for a few weeks along with a brownish color discharge from my breast, but I didn’t think anything of it as it wasn’t a lump nor was it bothersome. She stated that she wanted to order a baseline mammogram along with some labs, from prolactin levels down to thyroid testing. Several days went by with lab testing, ultrasound and another mammogram as the first one didn’t show anything abnormal. I really wasn’t nervous at the time, because I didn’t expect to hear anything bad like cancer as it didn’t run high in my family.

After a second ultrasound, I then knew something wasn’t right when the ultrasound technician seemed somewhat distance and reserved and went to get a doctor to look at the monitor. From that momemt on it has been one emotional roller-coaster. I was told I had invasive ductal carcinoma grade 3 cancer and was told it was triple negative. I was clueless to what it was and was numb from hearing the word Cancer. I was told that this cancer mostly effects young woman and is an aggressive cancer. However with surgery and chemotherapy I would be just fine. After a few other testing, biopsy and the results of my BRCA, it was highly recommend I get a double masectomy and hysterectomy and complete 6 rounds of AC. But being only 28 and selfishly thinking of myself with not having any breast or not being able to have anymore children; along with being scared out my mind, I opted out from them taking both of my breast or getting a hysterectomy. So I ended up just having a lumpectomy with sentinel node biopsy in October 2008. After completing 6 rounds of chemotherapy (no radiation because they caught it early) I was cancer free and worried free……at least I thought.

Until June 2013 I passed out at work, I’ll never forget July 4th 2013 (my oldest son birthday) I heard that horrible word CANCER reenter my vocabulary. After several scans and testing I was told the cancer had returned in my right breast. I thought I was heavily medicated and they was just talking jubberish until I seen my oncologist and a general surgeon come in. It was confirmed again that I had cancer and I needed to get surgery immediately. From July 2013 to February 2014 I had undergone several surgeries including a double masectomy with lymph node dissection,  hysterectomy, even reconstruction surgery. 10 rounds of chemotherapy completed……..I was winning!!! I assumed I had cancer beat at this point, I kept saying I’m gonna beat this thing for the second time. Sadly to say it wasn’t until after a PET scan I learned that the infusions wasn’t responding and a new mass beneath my sternum was found and the cancer is now metastatic. Numerous scans, several surgeries, and a ton of hospital stays, I’m still standing. Currently undergoing clinical trial placebo treatments at MD ANDERSON CANCER CENTER in Houston, Texas and also locally at MASSEY CANCER CENTER in Richmond, Virginia we’re still hoping and praying for a new chemo cocktail to respond the cancer, and hopefully to get the bone marrow transplant that’s needed( fingers crossed & praying ).

Having to sit down to inform three kids and your family that the cancer has rapidly spread, and they now consider you terminal, is devastating. Though some may say youre too young for cancer, you don’t look sick or you’re going to be just fine, I dont feel as if it will be ok. Hearing terminal and you need to get your affairs in order was heartbreaking, I knew then my fight with cancer had now taken a turn for the worse, and everyday now is a struggle. I cant put in words how I actually feel, because most of the times I blame myself…..had I just had the double masectomy when I was first diagnosed in 2008, maybe I wouldn’t be here now still fighting. Then its that feeling like your on one big emotional roller-coaster, one minute I’m sad, the next minute I’m upset then there are times I find myself asking God why me, but I’m at peace with it all and I tell myself every morning God only will give me what he knows I can handle.

My kids is what keeps me going, they are the reason I’m still fighting with a smile on my face. My daughter who I feel deserves the world, at 19 that young lady has kept me and her brothers afloat during some trying times. She’s not only my son caregiver, but she played a role as second mom to her brother’s. Currently waiting on her date for basic training for the Airforce she’s still my rock and the piece that holds everyone together in this. My boy’s 16 and 13 have been the main reason I participated in this clinical trial and research study. Since my daughter left they have became my “little big men” (mama boys, lol) watching my every move, asking every minute if I’m ok, do I need anything, but most importantly trying to keep me busy and moving.

Cancer doesnt just effect me, so trying to hold on and stand strong themselves at age 19, 16 and 13, I made a promise to my children. I told them the day I heard I’m Cancer Free all four of us would take a trip and celebrate life together, but I wasnt going to have a big party with tons of people, cake and pretty pink cancer survivor stuff…….nah this time we (“The Fantastic Four”) was going to celebrate life together in Florida for a week; rent a nice vacation house and go to Universal Studio’s, as this journey over the last two years for us has been rough and tough.

So if I could make one wish come true, it would be just that……for “The Fantastic Four” to celebrate life together with nothing but love, tears of joy, fun and laughter. It doesn’t matter to me now whether it’s celebrating my life cancer free, the fact that I’m still here, still living and still fighting , and still enjoying whats important to me is enough at this moment. Though God has the final report, I hope & pray to keep my promise to them with being able to celebrate life in Florida, but to also beat cancer like I promised them as well.  ~Chanda

 

If you would like to help us grant Chanda’s wish, make your donation today! www.ShaySharpesPinkWishes.org or mail it to:

Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes. P.O.Box 11763. Baltimore, Maryland 21206

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I HATE CANCER! Our friend, Rachell, has been placed in home hospice.

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Our beautiful Rachell, is resting, pain free, in home hospice. I hate cancer! Here is the latest update, I found it on the Prayers for Rachell page.  Please keep her friends and family in prayer.  Thank you! ~ Madame President

Our beautiful girl has given an amazing, powerful, and most of all, inspirational fight against this hell-ish cancer. She has faced every obstacle with positivity. Pushing through unimaginable pain with a smile. She showed us what a true warrior looks like. She’s hid her pain and suffering so well behind that beautiful smile, I honestly don’t think any of us can comprehend the actual amount of pain that she has endored. Our warrior is exhausted from this tireless fight…her beautiful soul deserves to rest….

Rachell is ready to be free from the pain and suffering that this cancer has caused her…ready to let go. She hasn’t received chemo in over a month, it’s no longer an option as her body is too weak to handle it. She’s been put on In Home Hospice, which is end of life care in the comfort of her home. No more doctors appointments, scans, or testing. Her mom and hospice nurse are making sure that she is comfortable and feels as little pain as possible. She is and will continue to be surrounded by people who love her dearly. She will not be alone. Things are happening fast, if she continues on this path she should be letting go very soon. Send your prayers and positive energy to Rachell for her new journey.

Rachell has always informed her friends on social media of her battle, it’s important that we continue her story now that she can’t. I will do my best to keep yall updated and answer questions. Please keep our family in your prayers, this is obviously a difficult time for everyone.

Rachell’s mom asked me to update everyone on Rachell…so of course I wrote something. What I didn’t expect was how difficult it would be to post it here. I’ve held onto this for hours and hours…thinking how pissed off she’s going to be with me for making everyone think that she’s leaving us. My brain can’t wrap around the facts. It hurts so bad. It’s such a strange thing…watching someone so young, someone that you love and care about so deeply go through what she has…wanting her to let go and be free of the pain, while still wanting her to stay and not leave you. Rachell has touched so many people in her young life, I know this is painful for so many. Let’s try as hard as we can to fight that feeling of hurt and sadness. I know it sounds cliché but I know she really wouldn’t want us to feel that way. I’m sending my love out to everyone. ~ Rachell’s family

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Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes 2015 White Tie Fundraiser

 

 

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It’s our favorite time of year again! We are preparing for our 2015 White Tie Fundraiser. The theme this year is ALL WHITE! This will be unlike all the other white parties you have attended this year. When is the last time you attended an all white formal event? 100 women in all white gowns! We are gonna look like a room full of beautiful brides. I’m excited!! I cant wait to see all the beautiful survivors, guests and pictures at the event.

 

Thanks to the attendees and donors of the 2014 fundraiser, we were able to grant 15 Christmas wishes (our most to date), host Christmas brunch for families affected by breast cancer, feed and clothe the homeless on two separate occasions, and SSPW finally replaced their raggedy computer and printer. Thank you! We couldn’t do it without you.

 

Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes 2015 White Tie Fundraiser, will be held at the gorgeous Valley Mansion in Cockeysville, Maryland, on Sunday, September 27th. 6-10pm. Tickets are $125 and includes, dinner, dancing, dj, live auction, seafood buffet, open bar and hugs 🙂

You can purchase you tickets via

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PS…. You get $100 off if you purchase a table of ten $1150. Original price $1250.

Thanks again for your support and I look forward to seeing all of you there! xoxo ~ Madame President

Help Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes Send 30 Breast Cancer Survivors To Our Annual Black Tie Fundraiser, Free Of Charge!

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It’s our favorite time of year! Time for the Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes, Black Tie Fundraiser.

Every year we host a beautiful evening of food, fun, fundraising and philanthropy, to assist in our wish granting and education efforts. This year, we have 3 pending wish requests. Help us make these wishes come true!

Being a 9 year breast cancer survivor, who has lingering side effects and mounting medical expenses, I know first hand, the hardship that could be created by spending $100 on a fundraiser ticket. For this reason, we have created a Crowdrise Fundraiser in hopes of sending 30 breast cancer survivors to this event, at no expense to them.

Every year, we receive messages from young women, thanking us for giving them the opportunity, to attend this event. Some of the women have never attended a black tie event and some have never worn a gown. This event also gives women the opportunity to meet and take photos with other young survivors, many they only know from social media. Sadly these pictures have been used in the obituaries of past wish recipients and attendees.

Donate today. Every little bit counts! $10, $20, $50… whatever you can afford. Even if you cant donate financially, please share this message with your friends, followers, co-workers and family. You can donate at www.crowdrise.com/2014SSPWBTF. We thank you in advance and we hope to see you on Sunday, September 28th. xoxo ~ Madame President

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Learning To Love Yourself After Breast Cancer. By Guest Blogger Kiana B.

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My name is Kiana and I was diagnosed with breast cancer April 29, 2013 about 24 days after my 28th birthday.

I discovered the lump randomly. From there I went for a mammogram, biopsy and then was diagnosed shortly afterwards. This all happened within a two week period.

A few weeks later on Mother’s Day, I discovered I was pregnant with twins. Unplanned and unexpected due to the timing of my breast cancer diagnosis. I was shocked, confused and scared. I talked with my family and doctors and we all thought it was best to not continue the pregnancy.

That was the HARDEST decision I’ve ever been faced with in my life but I knew I had to put myself first and it would be fair to me or the babies if I was too ill to care for them and give them a quality life.

I had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy 6/17/13. Following I had brachytherapy radiation in which 29 catheters were inserted into my breast and I received internal radiation, twice a day for about a week and a half. It was painful, scary and just plain awful but I made it through.

Once my treatment and surgery completed I began to see life in a new way a reevaluate what I needed. I changed jobs and also maintained full time enrollment in college.

Cancer has both magnified fears I didn’t think I’d ever have but also highlighted the strength and amazingly strong qualities I have.

I struggle each day physically and emotionally but I’m taking baby steps to learn to love my body as it is now due to cancer and also appreciate life a bit more than I had previously.

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My Story. By Guest Blogger Sheria N.

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At 33 years old I never thought I would hear anyone telling me that I have invasive ductal carcinoma, better known as Breast Cancer. Going in for a routine check turned bad in a blink of an eye.

I’ll always remember the day, August 23 2011, the day Baltimore had it’s first earthquake. My doctor was telling me that I have 3 tumors in my breast. The hospital is shaking. I’m crying. My husband is in the bathroom. I felt faint. All I could do was cry and think about death, because I was not educated on the topic. I was stage T2, had 72 radiation treatments, a month and a half of chemotherapy. My body took a beating. I knew that I need to lose weight but going from 150 to 100 was a bit much. I had a mastectomy on my right breast. I was sick seem like forever. I was ashamed of what I was going through, and didn’t want pictures taken. I didn’t want to be seen.

I didn’t wanna live, but my faith, family and friends allowed me to get better, so now I’m a survivor! I know a lot more and I’m not afraid to tell my story. I thank God I don’t look like what I been through….

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My Pink Testimony by Guest Blogger Tianna

January 21, 2014- The Day My Life Changed! I received the news that I had Stage 2 Breast Cancer (after finding my own lump). Receiving this news certainly hit me like a ton of bricks- everything around me got still, I couldn’t breathe, the tears started to flow and would not stop. All I could hear was my mom telling me that it was going to be alright and then she handed me the phone to speak to my grandmother. Unable to speak from crying, my grandmother softly spoke in my ear and said- Go ahead and cry, Let it all out but you FIGHT and know that the LORD is with you and will carry you through this. Finally pulling myself together and taking it all in- I decided that I needed to get a second opinion and if the results till remained, I wanted to make sure that I was treated by the best. So, I decided to contact Cancer Treatment Center of America- who handled everything from insurance verification, getting my medical records for review, travel and hotel accommodations and scheduled a visit to meet with a team of doctors that will review my test results, have all information/treatment options available and ready to discuss when I arrived.

February 4, 2014- The day I drove to Zion, IL to meet with my team of doctors with my mom, dad and cousin as my support team for the week. As I step off the shuttle to enter into the hospital, I am a little nervous but I still hear those words that my grandmother spoke to me. This place atmosphere is truly AMAZING! Upon entering the building, you are greeted right away and everyone you come in contact with are so polite and friendly. Thinking to myself- they definitely have to screen everyone of their employees- everyone here is so warm and friendly! After meeting with 5 doctors from my team- I come to learn that the tumor that was found consist of two forms of cancers- one being invasive and the other noninvasive- which was not good news b/c one was likely to spread to other parts of my body. More testing had to be done to make sure the cancer had not spread and I had to have another biopsy done because a lymph node was found in my armpit and they need to make sure that the cancer had not spread to this area. The GOD I serve is truly AMAZING because the test results were negative and showed the cancer had not spread to any other areas of my body.

February 7, 2014- The day I sat down with my oncologist at CTCA to discuss my chemotherapy options and start Round 1 of what was to be a total of 6 rounds (It just got real). First, thing I thought after hearing the word chemotherapy- I Am Going to Lose my Hair! ( those that know me, know how I am about my hair Lol). But this decision had to be made and at the end of the day- it’s just HAIR- it will grow back! The side effects you may have from chemotherapy depend on the regimen you’re on, the amount of medicine you’re getting, the length of treatment, and your general health. Chemotherapy came with a list of side effects- not just hair loss but nausea, bone/body pains, tiredness, fatigue, insomnia, low white/red blood cell counts, taste/smell change, weight change (in my case gain b/c they kept me on steroids), nail change, mouth sores, memory loss and the list goes on. And I experienced MOST of them- BUT GOD!!!!!

May 29, 2014- TODAY IS THE BIG DAY!!!!!!!! I will receive my LAST ROUND of CHEMO…..I MADE IT…THANK YOU JESUS!!!! This battle is not over yet and I still have to get through surgery and radiation but the worst part is over. Breast Cancer started the fight but I Finished it……I AM A SURVIVOR!!!
My Pink Testimony

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Breast Cancer Affects Us All. On this Mother’s Day, a young woman shares memories of her mom. Written by Guest Blogger Brandi Proctor.

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Shelia Martin Proctor… was born to overcome adversity… she had some struggles early in life… her biggest battle became the one she had with cancer. Unlike those early detection commercials… she did everything right. Shelia was high risk, she was cystic and complained of breast pain since puberty. she went ti breast specialist every 6 months, got a mammogram every year, ate right and exercised, but somehow…they missed it. An attentive nurse was the one who noticed that the lump, “felt different” From that moment on, life was never the same…

It was Election Day , 1994. Shelia was just 37, her children were 11 and 6. The rest is a whirlwind, by Friday she was in a New York Hospital, having a mastectomy. Her daughter had moved in with her father, her son went to stay with her family in Philadelphia. Shelia said when she asked the doctor how long she had they told her the life expectancy for the advanced stage cancer she had, that spread to 27 lymph nodes, was 1 to 3 years, but her children would make the difference. She said as she sat in that recovery room, staring out of the window feeling very, woe is me…she saw a little girl who couldn’t have been more than 4 years old. The girl was also a cancer patient and recovering from surgery, she had once little curl of hair left on her otherwise bald head… At that moment, Shelia said, “If she can do it, I can do it…” After a few weeks of recovery, she started her first chemo with a doctor who told her, not to listen to those other doctors when it came to putting an expiration date on her life because, “Doctors are not God…” Shelia wore gold knee boots to her first chemotherapy treatment. What else would she wear? When her hair fell out, she adorned it with temporary tattoos and the most fabulous headwraps and scarves. Wigs weren’t her thing because it wasn’t her intention to hide the fact that she was bald. She’d say they itched and irritated her, but she had to admit that it was nice to be a “flaming mammie” or have “more fun” as a blonde within moments. She’d always giggle about the time she got pulled over and snatched the wig off in front of the officer…she said he emphatically replied, “Ma’am you go RIGHT home!” lol She was still working as an educator in Baltimore City Schools, driving herself back and forth to chemo treatments in Philly every Friday. She would bring her nurses crabs from bmore and celebrated everyday like it was her birthday. She’d say when you’re a patient, a birthday is a celebration of life. After a year of chemo, she went into remission, her hair came back curlier and fuller, things went back to normal. Except the fact that she never got reconstructive surgery. She wore her mastectomy scar and radiation burns as a badge of honor. She’d wear her prosthetic breast that she called a “falsey” but the second it shifted or tormented her, out it came. She’d say, “That’s other people’s problem. I only have one tittie, so…. it doesn’t make me any less of a woman and any man that thinks so….eff him!”

She was the den mother to her daughter’s friends, being a listening ear and always gave out a wealth of advice on how the be “nicety” instead of nasty and how to always keep your cool when dealing with men! To this day they joke “WWSD” What would Shelia do? In 2002, as her daughter was preparing to graduate college (she was only in 7th grade when Shelia was diagnosed, what a difference a few years makes!) she started to have some health issues… She had trouble seeing, the doctors said it was diabetes, a result of all the meds over the years. But Shelia wasn’t so sure, after feeling dizzy and seeing black spots, she went to a specialist who ordered a cat scan….she wasn’t ready for the results. A tumor was back, she’d had a hysterectomy back in 95 to stop the estrogen which was feeding her cancer… now the cancer was trying to attack her pituitary. She went in for outpatient surgery but what they found when they operated was more serious than anticipated. As a result of the tumor and where it was sitting, a part of her skull had to be cut out and replaced with plastic. This was the beginning of a journey where she showed true courage in the face of fear. She had to retire from the school system, this time her doctor warned against it. She was touched by her fellow educators who gave up months of paid leave through the sick bank. She’d still strut around her chemo sessions “dancing around her pole” She became a mentor and a counselor to some of he younger women who came in for treatment, she’d make care packages and “new patient” packets for the people in her doc’s office. She celebrated EVERY holiday to the max, that includes having Easter egg hunts for the neighborhood. Doing everything green for St. Patty’s day even though she’s not a lick Irish, and going in full Mrs. Clause gear for Christmas. Shelia just loved life and everything it had to offer! She made the most of every day! Just like most cancer patents, she had her days where she felt, blah, she described as a “wet dishrag”… but even those days she still managed to cook for her kids (who were practically grown:)). The other days she made a fashion statement! Her kids would often ask where she was going, she’d reply, to GIANT!!!! Or A.J. Wright… she bought little trinkets for everyone around her, all the time…

In 2010 a routine surgery caused her to be hospitalized. it was a turn of events that would snowball. A medical mistake caused her to go into renal failure. She fought and told the doctor’s take the word “hospice” out of their vocabulary when they spoke to her…everywhere she went she told everybody, “I’m going to live…” She was a firm believer hat you didn’t have to look sick… she and her daughter would do makeup and scarves daily, she was the most fashionable patient! After a courageous battle…she peacefully traded in her boxing gloves for angel wings on June 12, 2010. Shelia was a miracle, and she knew it! They told her 1-3 years… she showed them that you can’t put a time limit on life…18 is a whole heck of a lot more than 1!

She fought and fought and her kids passionately tell people, it wasn’t the cancer, she beat that! She did not lose her battle, she WON! Her legacy lives on in her kids and all those whose lives she touched…

She was laid to rest in true Shelia style, in a pink casket, with her signature head tats (under a blond wig) and her infamous gold boots! (what else would she wear:)) She could never be forgotten, her memory is alive and her legacy is forever…