Name: Sara Hicks
Occupation: VP at a Property Management firm
Age when diagnosed with breast cancer: 32
Breast cancer type: Her2 positive
Breast cancer stage: 1
Treatment: Chemotherapy, double mastectomy, immune-therapy, potential radiation
Tell us a fun fact about yourself
I love collecting things! Old horror novels and toys from my childhood are my favourites.
What’s your go-to pick-me-up song?
I have so many happy songs but I like blasting Metallica and Mastodon.
How did you discover your breast cancer?
I did a self-exam and found the source of some discomfort; two lumps.
What went through your head when you received your diagnosis?
I was angry first, then sad because I suspected it, but did not want to believe it.
What’s the craziest thing someone said to you after being diagnosed?
You are too young – obviously I was not!
Who have been your biggest sources of support throughout your experience with cancer?
My husband was my caregiver and assumed more duties around the house. He has been an amazing emotional support. My parents brought me to all of my appointments and provided guidance. I cannot however leave out my “breastie” because without her I don’t think I would have gotten through this the same way. Having someone who understands, as they are living it with you, is huge.
What is the most difficult part of being a young woman with breast cancer?
It is hard to pick one thing as ten pop into my head. Knowing you would have had potentially 50 years or more of life ahead of you, that is thrown into question, is hard to grapple with. Indeed, no one knows what is waiting around the corner in life but facing a life-threatening disease makes your own mortality very real.
What’s something unexpected you learned about yourself?
When I suspected my diagnosis, I thought I would shut down and retreat, and not be able to cope mentally. I have surprised myself by talking about it a lot, and advocating others to not wait to get anything suspect checked out.
What words of wisdom would you pass on to another young person who has just been diagnosed with cancer?
Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel. All emotions, from grief, to anger, to sadness, are valid and normal. Learn to cope with the flood of feelings, but it is unrealistic to always stay positive through such trauma, and that is okay.
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