Former Sandwich High Field Hockey Player Recalls Her Battle With Cancer
By: Sharishta Shourie, October 3, 2013
It’s hard to believe I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer four years ago on September 1, 2009. I was 25 years old when I found a lump in my right breast after doing a self-exam and my life quickly changed forever.
Over the next couple months I was faced with making many difficult, life-altering decisions about my future and my body, such as losing my breasts, undergoing multiple reconstructive surgeries, six rounds of chemotherapy, 28 radiation treatments, and 17 Herceptin treatments. I met with many doctors to discuss my options and created my team of experts who helped me in my three-year journey back to health and feeling whole again.
I definitely wouldn’t have been able to get through the hardest parts of going through cancer without the love and support of my incredible family and friends. It wasn’t easy being on the opposite side of the country away from my family and closest friends but I was constantly receiving cards in the mail, thoughtful care packages, and phone calls to remind me that I was not alone.
My closest friends from Sandwich even surprised me by organizing a fundraiser in my honor to help me pay for medical expenses. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and be the innocent 25 year old I was before my diagnosis, but cancer forced me to learn important life lessons most don’t learn at such a young age: the importance of taking nothing for granted, don’t sweat the small things, unconditional love from family and friends, and how quickly life can change.
Cancer has taken many things away from me, but not my passion to live life to the fullest. The journey has made me a stronger person, taught me I am capable of overcoming any challenge, and to get busy living.
When I was diagnosed, I knew absolutely nothing about breast cancer and had no idea that young women and men could get breast cancer. Since my diagnosis, I have been committed to raising awareness about breast cancer in young women and the importance of being proactive about your health. If I hadn’t done my own self-breast exam the my cancer would have been diagnosed much later and my outcome could have been much worse.
Throughout my three-year cancer journey I documented my experiences online (www.sharishta.com) and have been fortunate to participate in some amazing breast cancer awareness projects. Since there is no cure for breast cancer yet, I believe that education about prevention and early detection are our best tools for saving lives.
Here are some important statistics:
• One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime (NCI);
• Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except skin cancer (NCI);
• Five to 6 percent of new breast cancer cases occur in women under 40 (Young Survival.org);
• Lifetime risk for men of getting breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000 (American Cancer Society);
• Avoiding cancer risk factors may help prevent certain cancers. Risk factors include smoking, being overweight, and not getting enough exercise. Increasing protective factors such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and exercising may also help prevent some cancers (NCI).
Come out on October 11 to support the SHS field hockey team for their Play for the Cure Breast Cancer Awareness game and their fundraiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Sharishta Shourie played field hockey for the Blue Knights for three seasons. She graduated in from Sandwich High School in 2002. She currently lives in Los Angeles.