D.I.V.A.S by Astrid Shover

We are Diverse. We are Inspiring. We are Victorious. We are Amazing. We are Survivors! We are D.I.V.A.S!  It was August 13, 2018, when I heard those “cold” and gut-wrenching words from my doctor “you have breast cancer”.  I dropped to my knees and began to weep. With my husband by my side, I cried uncontrollably.

After a while, I quickly went into fight mode. I was 38 years old with two boys, ages five and seven. There was no way I could imagine living without them. So, I told myself, I would fight cancer with all I had!

I had been diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. One small lump the size of a pea that didn’t hurt turned into four masses in my right breast. It had also spread to my lymph nodes. On September 28, 2018, I had a double mastectomy and three days later an oophorectomy because I was BRCA2. In one week, I went from feeling like a “woman” to not having the ability to ever have kids again! I hated looking at my nipple-less breast that were flat with scars for a while. I struggled with feeling like a woman. My breasts were so symbolic for me. I nursed my boys with them. I felt sexy with them. I wondered how that would affect my intimacy with my husband. If he would love me the same or still be attracted to me.

But those were all negative thoughts that were leading me into depression. They were things that did not make me a “woman”. My husband loved me beyond the scars. I quickly began to realize that I was still sexy! Scars, no nipples and all. I began to take my power back that breast cancer stole from me. I began to speak affirmations over myself and connect with other D.I.V.A.S on social media who living out loud and thriving.

You see breast cancer is not just pink. It’s multi-dimensional. Each woman reacts to her diagnosis differently. Each woman navigates through survivorship differently and that’s okay. I learned to turn my pain into my purpose and use it in a powerful way.  It took me a while to embrace that.

Today, I am now the founder of Pink D.I.V.A.S United, which empowers and uplifts women who have overcome breast cancer by providing them with the resources, education, and support to navigate life post-cancer. It brings me joy to see these D.I.V.A.S thriving and sharing their experiences. I’m celebrating five years being cancer free and thriving!

Astrid Shover

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