When we face obstacles, a good community is what we need to find support and help to overcome our struggles. Our featured goddess is Paige Shafer, a young woman that understands this idea pretty well.
She is a fighter that wants to remind anyone going through cancer that they are not alone and never will.
How old were you when you got your diagnosis, and how was it detected?
I was diagnosed in September 2019 at 26. I had Stage 2 IDC (invasive ductal carcinoma), ER/PR+, and Her2+.
I found my cancer completely by accident. I crossed my arms one day and felt a hard lump in my right breast. I brought it up to my doctor at my annual exam a couple months later and she was concerned enough to send me for an ultrasound. The ultrasound turned into a biopsy and mammogram, and the rest is history.
How did you feel when your doctor shared the news?
In my head, I convinced myself I had cancer before the results came back. I figured anything they said would be better than cancer, so I would be overreacting. When they actually said I had cancer I went numb. I wasn't prepared. The tears ran silently and I just kept shaking my head “no” – knowing that wouldn't change anything. I stayed numb and cried off and on for a couple of weeks until I started accepting it.
What would you say to someone who has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer?
This is a club I never wanted to join, but a community I can't imagine my life without. Find yourself a community, in person, or online. There are hundreds of people sharing their stories, putting their journey out there for others to learn from. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask questions, we wouldn't be putting ourselves out there if we didn't want others to see us as a resource.
Hair loss is something that concerns most women going through treatment. Do you think a headpiece or turban can positively impact the way you perceive yourself?
I had always identified with my long curly hair and losing it was rough. Turbans and hats gave me the opportunity to express myself in a fun and colorful way while keeping my little bald head warm (I was bald in the winter). The key to hats, turbans, wigs, and baldness is doing what makes you feel best. Some days being bald made me feel strong and fierce, and some days it took the help of a turban.