Imagine your life’s like a puzzle. You go along fitting the pieces together creating the picture that makes up you. Then cancer comes along and doesn’t just scatter the pieces, it removes, adds and completely changes some. You’re left alone trying to piece it back together.
Cancer runs in my family, and I knew it would always be a piece in my puzzle, but had no idea it would be at 30 and have such an impact. On December 30, 2016 I was diagnosed with stage two, ER+ breast cancer, and two weeks later I had a bilateral mastectomy. When the reoccurrence score came back higher than expected, I started chemo. I had so many side effects that I ended treatment early, only finishing four out of six cycles.
Although friends and family were an amazing source of support, they just couldn’t understand the new pieces. I heard about Pink Pearl through a cancer friend and signed up for a retreat. Pink Pearl gave me extra hands; a whole network of young women to help me rebuild my puzzle, to help me feel like I wasn’t doing this alone and to help me see the beauty in my new picture.
After two reconstruction surgeries and bouncing between hormone medications, I had my ovaries removed in 2019 to stop the estrogen production; a last ditch effort to hope the cancer won’t come back. Everyday I’m trying to put my puzzle together. Some parts still don’t quite fit, and some of the pieces are damaged and scarred, but the continued support through Pink Pearl has given me the strength to continue and an outlet to heal through helping others. Life’s already a puzzle, but you don’t have to do it alone.
– Liz Brown