What You Wish You Knew About Breast Cancer

Once you receive a breast cancer diagnosis, a million things run through your mind. One of the big things is how much you don’t know before getting caught in the cyclone of treatment with no time to process until you’ve entered the survivorship stage. This podcast will dive into the nitty-gritty of what you wish you knew then and what you know now. Listen to patients share their stories in digestible bites. Each episode will help you feel less alone, informed, and hopeful. From SHARE Cancer Support, this is Our BC Life podcast.

If you would like to be a guest on the podcast, please email ourbclife@sharecancersupport.org.

 

S1 E12 - Our BC Life Compilation of all 2023 Episodes

Season one of Our BC Life is now available! We are grateful for the courage and strength of the survivors who have shared their inspiring stories with us. We encourage you to share this podcast with your friends and family who may also be interested in hearing about the world of early-stage breast cancer survivorship. This compilation of all 2023 episodes aims to give our listeners a bird's-eye view of the journey of a breast cancer survivor because it's more than just a pink ribbon; it's our BC Life. We hope you enjoy listening and find it informative and inspiring.

 

S1 E12 - Relationship with Food and Purpose After Breast Cancer

Guest: Karen D. Adams, Invasive Ductal (IDC), HER2+, ER+/PR-

Life can be challenging and sometimes knock you to your knees. Guest Karen D. Adams, Invasive Ductal (IDC), HER2+, ER+/PR- survivor, was put to the test as she mourned the death of her father and was diagnosed a few months later with breast cancer and then colon cancer a few years later. She also walks us through the changes of her relationship with food, especially soul food, in her survivorship stage.

 

S1 E10 - Breast Cancer Holistic Bag of Tips to Manage Emotions

Guest: Dawn Freeman, DCIS w/ recurrence

Even with a strong family history of multiple types of cancers, guest Dawn Freeman, a DCIS with one recurrence survivor, was always into fitness and eating right. She was born with Addison’s disease, also called adrenal insufficiency, which is an uncommon illness that occurs when the body does not make enough of a certain hormone. She had been planning to leave her job and was getting all of her health screenings before resigning. Then she received the cancer call – no symptoms and was found on a mammogram. Dawn, who identifies as a Black lesbian, had many complications with her treatment and surgeries which caused her to experience body dysmorphia. Listen as she shares her holistic bag of tips on protecting your peace and calming the mind, body, and spirit.

 

S1 E9 - Making a Decision Based on a Percentage – Genetic Testing and Previvor Experience

Guest: Kellie Goss, BRCA1, Previvor

This episode includes our first-ever previvior! Guest Kellie Goss, a BRCA1 previvor, has a strong family history of breast cancer. Her mom and little sister were diagnosed with breast cancer, and she knew it would only be a matter of time before she got the cancer call. Thanks to a persistent OB-GYN, she finally agreed to genetic testing and take a proactive approach for her health.

Listen as she talks about her mental and spiritual struggles after receiving her results that were so significant (80% risk of getting ovarian cancer and 75% risk of getting breast cancer) that she opted to have a prophylactic double mastectomy and hysterectomy.

 

S1 E8 - PTSD and Vulnerability in Breast Cancer Survivorship

Guest: Andrea Gamble (she/her), Stage IIA invasive lobular (ILC)

She had a doctor with a plan, and now she needed to be the patient with a plan. Guest Andrea "Andi" Gamble, an invasive lobular (ILC) survivor, comes from a family of breast cancer – her mother, herself, and then her sister. The plans Andi didn’t realize she would need were how to cope with implants, painful expanders, delayed exchange surgery due to COVID, PTSD, and the loneliness and isolation that can often come once in the survivorship stage. There was no roadmap to handle all of the overwhelming physical, mental, and emotional toll of breast cancer.

 

S1 E7 - A Breast Cancer Story: From Stage Zero to Stage Four

Guest: Nancy Herard-Marshall (she/her), DCIS, ER/PR+ and HER2- in 2013 and diagnosed with MBC in 2020

No one prepares for going from stage 0 to stage 4. My guest, Nancy Herard-Marshall, was diagnosed with DCIS in Situ in October 2013. She was hitting her five-year mark in survivorship and living life until she went mountain climbing in Haiti. She pricked her finger which later triggered lymphedema. From that moment, there would be more complications, and ultimately, a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis (MBC). Listen to Nancy’s story of her struggles, support group connections, microaggressions experienced by her medical team, how her subtype changed, and how she stood up for herself in the midst of the insanity.

 

S1 E6 - Color the Queer into Post-Cancer Menopause

Guest: Jamie Philips, Invasive Ductal and DCIS Survivor

It is essential to acknowledge the different breast/chest cancer experiences of those in marginalized communities, including the LGBTQIA community. My guest, Jamie Philips, an invasive ductal and DCIS survivor, is a queer person who experienced many alienating things throughout her chest cancer experience like being squeezed into a pink bra post-surgery to being given resources with no inclusive language. No one discussed or prepared her for the ramifications of menopause and how her dating life would be impacted, in a way that would resonate and honor the queerness of her journey.

 

S1 E5 - When Family History and Genetic Mutation Elevate Risk of Breast Cancer

Guest: Marissa Thomas, Survivor with Lynch syndrome mutation

Knowing your family history is essential to learn what you are predisposed to. In this episode, my guest Marissa Thomas, a survivor with a Lynch syndrome mutation, discusses learning of her family history and how she was diagnosed with breast cancer six months after her dad’s second bout with colon cancer. Marissa drops many gems of knowledge from the importance of genetic testing, knowing what your body’s “normal” is, and suggestions to help shift through the collateral damage of it all.

 

S1 E4 - The Anxiety of Breast Cancer Surgery Choices

Guest: Erin Perkins, Stage IIB triple-negative and IDC

There’s a lot of anxiety once you receive a breast cancer diagnosis. In this episode, my guest Erin Perkins, a triple negative survivor, discusses the unique way she knew something was wrong and the overwhelming feelings that came when it was time to decide on the best surgery option for her body; and why, after getting an Aesthetic Flat Closure, she wanted a revision.

 

S1 E3 - The Rollercoaster of Emotions When Treatment Changes

Guest: Brenda Coronado, Stage IIB invasive lobular with mix of ductal

A breast cancer diagnosis can cause a rollercoaster of emotions, especially when you are mentally prepared for a specific treatment plan but then feel blindsided by additional treatments. Guest Brenda Coronado, a stage IIB invasive lobular survivor, is fresh out of active treatment and sharing her bumpy ride of treatments and how the cultural differences and finding community in her native language are essential as she begins her survivorship stage.

 

S1 E2 - When Surgical Menopause Wreaks Havoc on Sex Life and Mental Health

Guest: Rachael Walker, Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer (IDC)

There are different sets of challenges when you’re originally diagnosed under 40. One of those challenges is how being surgically induced into menopause rather than nature taking its course affects the mind and sex life. That’s what guest Rachel Walker, an invasive ductal (IDC) survivor, discusses in this episode. Take a listen to how she’s learning to cope with the frustrations of survivorship and relearns how her body functions and its limitations.

Additional Resources:
Certification that a Sexual Health specialist will typically have: https://www.aasect.org/
Book recommendation - When Sex Hurts: Understand and Healing Pelvic Pain Book

 

S1 E1 - The Power of Asking Questions When Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Guest: Nancy Touhill, Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) survivor

When you get that initial breast cancer diagnosis, you often feel powerless because so much is unknown. This episode will discuss the power of asking questions of your medical team with guest Nancy Touhill, a triple-negative breast cancer survivor (TNBC). We discuss why the relationship with your oncologist is a partnership when determining the type of treatment recommended and the unexpected mental toll of entering the survivorship stage.

 



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