It is officially October which means it is Breast Cancer awareness month. Last year I kicked off my annual Breast Cancer Survivor giveaway honoring my late step-mother and I am so excited that I was able to continue it for another year. This year my first recipient is Sharon Nelson of Columbia, SC. Sharon was diagnosed in January 2010 with stage two, triple-negative breast cancer.
In mid-September, I announced the Breast Cancer Survivor giveaway and Sharon was the first to enter. She provided such an amazing story. After a phone call with her, we decided on taking the images in Lake Carolina. The session started at the Lake Carolina Town Center and ended at the Lake Carolina Sales Center. I enjoyed getting to know more about Sharon while also capturing her personality during the session.
January 19, 2010, is a day Sharon will never forget. It was four months after the day every woman dreams of. Four months after she married the love of her life. While administering a self-check Sharon noticed a lump on her breast. She has a family history of the illness so she knew she needed to be proactive and conduct self-checks. After visiting an oncologist, it was confirmed that she indeed had breast cancer.
Sharon began receiving treatments that included multiple surgeries, mastectomy, reconstruction, and chemotherapy. While receiving treatments Sharon and her husband Justin were asked by the oncologist if they planned on having children. “My answer was an emphatic NO. Justin, on the other hand, hesitated,” she said. They previously agreed they didn’t want any kids and was going to be the “cool” aunt and uncle. They planned to build their careers and travel the world. It turned out that he wanted kids. The oncologist let them know that chemotherapy shuts down the chance of having kids.
Sharon decided that she was going to fight this disease with everything she had in her. She showed up to every doctor's appointment dressed with perfection and her head held high. “I believed that God was taking me through this journey to show me something, to tell me something.” Having a support system is very important and she was loaded with support. She leaned on her husband, parents, brother, in-laws, church family, close friends, and coworkers.
HEALING, FAITH & THRIVING
In September 2010, after her first anniversary, she was cancer-free after her treatments. A joint decision was made to give the kid thing a go and see what happens. Well on January 19, 2011, one year to the date of her diagnosis, her doctor told gave her the great news that she was indeed pregnant…with twins.
“It's one thing to CHOOSE to not have children. It’s another thing altogether to be told by a medical professional that your CHOICE has been taken. I was devastated. At that moment, my entire mindset changed. I couldn't give my husband children? One thing I know for sure and two is for certain is that I know of a God who says all things are possible. I opened my bible in the middle of the night. My fingers landed on a scripture that has now become my life's verse. Philippians 4:6. ‘Be not anxious about anything but through prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your request to God.’"
“You know, God will do the drastic to get our attention. I will celebrate 10 years of being cancer-free in 2020. This might sound crazy to say but having cancer was supposed to happen to me. I now have three children. Eight-year-old twins and a 9-month-old boy baby. I am and was supposed to be a mother. Being a cancer survivor is not the title of my book, it is, however, a pivotal chapter in my story. I don't take being their mother lightly. They were supposed to come to this world to do great things through me. They are here to show God's love and that if you just stay faithful and believe in Him, He will deliver on His promises.”
Sharon is now thriving with Justin but with a bit of a twist. They are still the “cool” aunt and uncle. Their careers are thriving and they are traveling often. She also enjoys exposing her children to a world of opportunities inside and outside of Columbia, SC. I love the fact that she has a monthly brunch date with her best girlfriends even though they don’t live in the same state.
Sharon is pouring her all into her family, support system, career, and her philanthropy efforts. She also mentors’ young girls of Ladies First Mentoring Group. The group has partnered with local elementary schools to reach girls during this important time of development.
I would like to thank Sharon for her courage and for sharing her story with me. I can truly say when I read her submission I was blown away. I couldn’t wait to meet and work with her. She was amazing in front of my camera and had a great personality. She is a living witness that Breast Cancer can be defeated with early detection, a strong support system & your faith.
Please like the blog post, comment and share it on your social media pages with your friends. If you want me to capture your story please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss documenting your life story.