Lea Doherty

Age: Adult
Association: Survivor
Region: St. Louis, Missouri
Cancer: Breast

"Cancer is not the end of your story, it is the beginning of a new chapter, it sucks and it’s hard but after all the tests, surgeries and treatments is a beautiful softer life waiting for you."

I have a family history of cancer, so I made sure I was always on top of my breast health. Every 6 months with mammograms and doctors visits. In between one of the 6 months, I found my lump during a self-exam and had a doctor that trusted me and moved forward in an aggressive way that made me feel comfortable. My husband and I sat down our daughters at the kitchen table (who were 12, 8 and 6 at the time) to tell them the news. Seeing the fear in their faces and the silence of their voices was the worst part of my cancer. I told them they each had 3 questions before we could leave the table, which opened up the silent air for conversation, questions, and stories. It was a true turning point in our upcoming lives involved with cancer, it made us open and honest with each other. cancer has made me slow down and appreciate every day and to be grateful, even with the bad days. My advice for all women and men to know their story and to trust themselves, to surround yourself with caring for beautiful people who will support you. To treat yourself well, with everything you put in your body and with everything you allow your mind to think: be kind to yourself but allow yourself to go through every emotion that you need to go through at that time. I am truly grateful for my amazing husband who was there through everything and somehow still ran our business and never once complained! My 3 beautiful young daughters that showed grace and strength! My mom (a breast cancer survivor) who had to watch her daughter suffer and stood strong to help me! My sister (a breast cancer survivor as well) who went through it as well, was a constant support and all my family! My generous friends and community who were silently there and picked up so much that I dropped.
Cancer is not the end of your story, it is the beginning of a new chapter, it sucks and it’s hard but after all the tests, surgeries and treatments is a beautiful softer life waiting for you. Dreams that you let go because of life happening can be picked up again and accomplished-everything is possible!