Like many women diagnosed with breast cancer, Sharishta began researching her disease to better understand what she could expect from treatment and life after cancer.
She spent the next month meeting with oncologists, breast and plastic surgeons to discuss her treatment options and what she could expect from the next year.
Sharishta’s Grandmother was diagnosed 4 years ago and that was the only known family history of breast cancer her family knew about.Like many young women though, Sharishta did not think breast cancer would ever be something she would have to worry about at a young age. The only time her breasts were checked were during her yearly well women exams. She had never done a self-breast exam on her own. However, on the night of August 12, 2009 there was a little voice in her head while she was in the shower that told her to do a self-breast exam. She was shocked when she felt something in her right breast.
Sharishta had never had any health issues in the past, but she had a gut feeling that she needed to see her primary care doctors immediately. Sharishta saw her doctor 2 days later and like many doctors thought it was maybe a cyst but recommended that she have an ultra sound to be safe. On August 31, 2009 Sharishta went to get her ultrasound. After the ultrasound the technician said the radiologist wanted to do a mammogram.
After the mammogram was finished the radiologist called Sharishta into his office and said he wanted to perform a needle biopsy because there was an abnormal mass that showed up on the mammogram and he wanted to perform a needle biopsy to find out. The following morning Sharishta got the dreaded call from her physicians office that she needed to come into the office.
Soon after Sharishta’s diagnosis, a friend told her about the Cancer Support Community (CSC) and its affiliate The Wellness Community- West Los Angeles. After joining a breast cancer support group and talking with other survivors there whose experiences mirrored hers, Sharishta identified the two elements that would play a critical role in her treatment – she would need to take a proactive role in her treatment by doing as much research as possible to build the right team of doctors to treat her.
In August 2010 she had her first round of checkups and had no evidence of disease.
Her hair is starting to grow back, and she is slowly getting back to enjoying physical activities like yoga and hiking with her dog, Remington, and in August 2010 she joined other cancer survivors for a week long kayaking trip in Vail, Colorado with First Descents.
During the past year, Sharishta has met many amazing breast cancer survivors through the CSC and its affiliate in West Los Angeles and at the Annual Conference for Young Survivors Coalition. She has formed friendships with many of these women that will last a lifetime and is grateful to have them in her life along with her supportive family and long time friends.
Sharishta is committed to raising awareness about breast cancer and participated in the Avon Breast Cancer Walk in Sept. 2010 and updates her MyLifeLine.org blog regularly to keep her friends and family informed about her treatment and progress every step of the way (www.mylifeline.org/sharishta).She continues to attend the breast cancer support group at the CSC affiliate in Los Angeles and has become a vocal advocate for patient empowerment – encouraging all women to become active participants in their health so they can take the right action for themselves.