Life is Good with Shatanese Reese
(From my Life is Good Series)
I have the pleasure to know Shatanese more than one year already. She is an amazing mother, wife, friend, and a very brave cancer survivor.
This is her story:
Life is Good – They Said I Had Cancer But It Did Not Have Me, Shatanese Reese
I still remember where I was when I received the call that changed my life forever. I was seated next to my husband on the couch in the loft area of our new home and the news caused me to sit straight up.
“Mrs. Reese, your results have returned. They are not what we had hoped.
The mass is cancerous. Thankfully, it is in stage one and it is measuring at a small amount. The type of cancer you have is called invasive mammary carcinoma. It is appearing both in your ducts and your lobes.”
Devastated, I could no longer hear the voice on the other end of the
phone. My mind was flooded with thoughts of “What Ifs?” “What Next?” and “Why Me?”
On August 25, 2016, I underwent a double mastectomy. The breasts I had nursed little ones with and offered during intimate moments were gone,removed to never be seen again. I felt a great sense of loss and yet, was thankful to still have my life. I entered a world I had, up until surgery, only feared. #Cancerfighter
Now, three surgeries later, life is good! There were times during my
recovery process when I thought reconstruction was more invasive than the initial removal of my breasts. I did not like drain tubes. In fact, I HATED drain tubes but learned to appreciate their purpose. I did not like having to exhale into a hand-held machine, but understood the importance of exercising my lungs directly after surgery. I even felt at times, like the bride of Frankenstein as a result of all the stitches and numerous incisions, but I learned to redefine what beauty meant to me.
I have attempted to maintain open and honest age-appropriate communication with the kids to ensure they understood exactly what was happening with Mommy and I truly feel that has been beneficial for each of us. They have been terrific helpers during my recovery process (especially with the tubes!) and even hold me accountable with my diet.
My most recent surgery was in July of this year. I am nearly back at 100% and am looking forward to resuming my journey to becoming a lightweight body builder. Until then, I am busy building my new consulting business (superextraordinarymom.com), cheering each of my six children on in their various ventures and doing my best to love my husband, who has always been by my side throughout this entire process.
I would not wish cancer on anyone and have a great deal of respect for those who have fought valiantly but are no longer here. I do not take my life for granted and certainly attempt to be present as much as possible.
Although I did not have to endure chemotherapy nor radiation therapy, cancer and I are foes for life. I am more mindful of what I eat and am committed to exercising regularly. The month of October and the color pink have taken on deeper meanings for me.
Life. Is. Good.