African Pride Stories of Strength: Marisha Shepherd

AP Stories of Strength

Name: Marisha Shepherd  Age: 51 Occupation:

How did you learn of your diagnosis with breast cancer? I did a breast self-exam and found a lump.  I told my doctor, went in for a biopsy and found that it was a malignant tumor.

As a survivor, can you share your journey with our readers? I was diagnose in October of 2004 at the age of 42. I did not believe at my age that I had cancer. I will never forget when the nurse asked me to come in and that the doctor needed to talk to me.  I told her to tell me.  She replied that it was cancer.  I don’t know how long the phone went to total silence before the nurse she asked if I was still there.  I called my husband in total panic, crying that I have cancer; I thought that I was going to die.  I was a wife, mother, daughter, Police Sergeant, and active church member. I was not ready to die.

My tumor was the size of the first joint in my index finger.  It was classified as stage 3 breast cancer. The tumor was feeding off of the estrogen in my body.  My treatment would consist of removing the tumor or lump (lumpectomy), 6 months of chemotherapy, 8 weeks of radiation and 5 years staying on a medication that would take the estrogen out of my body.

The surgery and all treatment went well.  Chemo made me sick, radiation made me tired and the 5 year medicine put me in early menopause that caused hot flashes and mood swings. It was a long journey of treatment, but the 5 year mark to actually be classified as in remission was even longer.  Now it has been 9 years and I thank God that the cancer has not returned

How did treatment affect your hair and how did you treat your hair post treatments?  I always had nice shoulder length hair. But after chemotherapy, every strand came out. I was bald. Post treatment, I did not go back to chemicals in my hair and wear my hair in natural styles.

What advice did you want to leave with our readers regarding staying strong through times of challenge? Cancer does not mean death. You control it. Keep faith and trust in your spiritual belief. Do not just let the doctors tell you what is going on. Be your own advocate, research and ask questions. Get second opinions.  Don’t go through your illness alone – involve your family and close friends. Change your life style; this includes your diet and exercises. Find ways to relieve stress. Most importantly live every day to the fullest, and love yourself.

How can our readers get in contact with you? Readers can contact me via phone email Marisha.Shepherd@atlanta-airport.com

AP Stories of Strength

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About the author

Jason Dinsmore has written 1333 articles for BE Entertained Magazine

J.Write is the Owner/Editor-In-Chief of BE Entertained Magazine. He's previously written for The Source, Dapper, DOWN, Break, & Full Blast Magazines. He's also contributed to a numBEr of blogs across the U.S.

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