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There is JOYE with an "E" by Joye Watts Mosley

Hi PA Community,

 

I’m honored that Sally asked me to share my breast cancer journey during Breast Cancer Awareness month. What’s nice about sharing my story with the fiber community is that fiber art is what helped me with some of the side effects of chemo and kept my mind occupied during some very challenging times.

I was diagnosed in July 2019 with Stage 1B Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I won’t go into detail about TNBC or how aggressive it is, but I will discuss how I managed a cancer diagnosis, treatment, and life after treatment.

After diagnosis on July 9, 2019 after a routine mammogram, I was called back for an ultrasound and  biopsy. At the mention of a biopsy, I knew this routine callback was more than some cyst or benign mass. I knew deep down inside cancer was lurking in my body. Two years prior to 2019, I got call backs for ultrasounds. I just felt that this time around something wasn’t quite right

I didn’t exhibit any symptoms of breast cancer. I don’t recall any breast pain, I didn’t have any skin discoloration or nipple discharge, nor did I have any noticeable change in the shape of my breast. I was diligent at keeping up with myself breast exams and I hadn’t felt any lumps in my breast.  It wasn’t until after  after my diagnosis and between my start of treatment when I started to feel odd sensations around the tumor site: an occasional  piercing tingling and burning sensation. But I still  couldn’t fill my lump.

Due to the size for my tumor and genetic testing that ruled out any hereditary cause for my cancer, I chose to have a lumpectomy followed by chemo and radiation. I completed treatment in January 2020 and because I knew my cancer was not hereditary and not hormone, I was certain that my cancer was caused by environmental factors (stress, weight, sleep patterns, etc). Based on that revelation, I knew what I had to do. I had to make major lifestyle changes if I wanted to ensure Cancer never enters my life again!

Parker Avenue realizes the importance of community in building a relationships, thriving, and helping to support our fellow community members. I also recognized the need for community when I decided to change my lifestyle and fight cancer head on. So during treatment, I joined three cancer support communities to learn how to thrive from other survivors. It was the best decision I made during my healing process. What better way to learn to thrive than from those who’ve already beat cancer. As for lifestyle changes: I’ve been fortunate to participate in a crossfit exercise study that looks at the effects of exercise on cnacer patients and survivors. From that group, I’ve gained another community of fellow warriors who strive for ultimate fitness to fight off a cancer reoccurrence.

One of the side effects that I battled during chemo was neuropathy and chemo-brain(yep it’s real!). I asked my oncologist for things I could do to address both. She suggested puzzles to help challenge my mind. I asked her if she thought knitting or crochet would help. She thought it would be a great way to address my side effects and suggested that I do patterns that required me to follow directions and not repetitive type projects. After that suggestion, I took knitting projects with me to chemo to help past the time and help with my dexterity. I was surprised how fast my neuropathy symptoms subsided.

So my message for the last day of Breast Cancer Awareness month would be to:

1.    Do your self-breast exams

2.    Get screened for cancer (mammograms and colonoscopies)

3.    Evaluate your lifestyle and make sure it’s not making you sick! Change risky behaviors, exercise, eat right, don’t smoke, reduce stress, and meditate.

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