Stories of survival for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Leidos Women's Network Employee Resource Group has created a special pink logo. The Women's Network is also donating $2,500 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation this month. In addition, we'll be honoring and remembering our colleagues and their loved ones all October, and sharing some of their stories.
Sherrie is a Program Manager based out of Washington, D.C.
"During my last deployment, I thought something was wrong but felt that I was 'too young' for anything serious. I waited it out for several months until a routine checkup with my doctor upon returning home.
"I had to fight with my insurance provider because I was considered 'too young' for certain tests. The doctors found a large tumor and treated it. While 30 is certainly 'too young,' so is 40 and 50 and 60 and so on. Don't wait! Go get tested, and if you hear of someone who is scared, I encourage you to go with them. Breast cancer is a terribly scary situation to face no matter what the results turn out to be. Since my own recovery, I've been able to speak to several other women on navigating tests, insurance, second opinions, reconstruction, and recovery.
"Just last year I met someone in a similar situation who has since become a close friend. She was young, healthy, and diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 30s. Since the Spring of 2018, she has undergone surgery, chemo, radiation, and recently ran the Army 10 Miler here in Washington, D.C. She is incredibly inspiring and is an example that not only can you overcome this disease, but it can push you to take even better care of yourself and thrive after the fact.
"For any illness: please go get tested, listen to your intuition, and take care of yourself."
Angela is a Windows Systems Administrator based out of Arlington, Va.
"On August 12, 2012 I received news that hit me like an armored truck. When that doctor parted her lips to tell me I had breast cancer, I was beyond scared. My youngest son was 18 months and my oldest son was in high school, a year away from graduation. Thoughts ran through my head, 'Am I going to be here to see my baby graduate? Am I going to watch my little guy grow up? Am I going to make it to my Navy retirement?'
"Before my oncology appointment, I researched treatment options for the different stages of breast cancer. So I talked to my doctor and she gave me my full diagnosis, stating that I was Stage II/III. I already knew I was going to lose my breasts, so I said, 'TAKE 'EM! TAKE 'EM both!'
"I went through six sessions of chemo. Some days I went in uniform and sometimes I just came in PJs. Either way, I came into the clinic like it was another day at the job because I had plans to see my babies grow up and I had to retire! The chemo was hard, really hard, and I almost gave up. But one evening my little man came in and asked me to comb my hair even though I was just as bald as a baby's bottom. Seeing his face every day made me fight harder and I sucked it up and went to my chemo appointments. It was a love/hate relationship but I completed all my chemo sessions and won!
"I got a free and clear diagnosis and a new lease on life. I live every day as if it is my last. I enjoy my family, get to watch my oldest become a man, and I retired from the Navy on October 1, 2017. I kicked cancer's butt and I have a new outlook on life and a second chance to LIVE! I embraced my battle wounds and smile every day because I am still here. For my sisters fighting the fight, keep on, and stay hopeful because there is a bigger picture than what you are going through. Seven years clear and many more to come!"