“I Survived Breast Cancer”
Every three minutes in the US, a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. While she had heard the statistics, at the age of 24, Shena Snow didn’t think she’d be one of them, at least not at this stage in her life. As a single mom about to complete dental hygiene school, Snow was on the fast track to an exciting new career and a better life for her young daughter, Kinsley.
How It All Began
Receiving treatment for a collapsed lung at St. Dominic’s didn’t cause much worry for Snow. But shortly after Dr. Pat Scanlon, General Surgeon at St. Dominic’s corrected this health problem, Snow felt a lump in her breast. Shortly after returning to Dr. Scanlon’s office for a checkup, Snow learned it might be something more serious.
“When Dr. Scanlon told me I needed a biopsy after he did the ultrasound, I went numb,” said Snow. “I thought this couldn’t possibly happen so soon after my collapsed lung. But I quickly learned it could. Dr. Scanlon immediately scheduled me for surgery after he told me the words no woman wants to hear: ‘You have breast cancer.'”
The Turning Point
Snow chose to have a double mastectomy to alleviate future concerns about the reoccurrence of the disease. Following a successful surgery and recovery, she was referred to Dr. Nicole Cleveland, a Medical Oncologist at St. Dominic’s. She immediately put an end to Snow’s fears that she wouldn’t be able to complete school and more important, care for her daughter while undergoing chemotherapy.
“Dr. Cleveland absolutely understood my priorities were taking care of Kinsley and completing school, and in that order,” said Snow. “She worked my treatment around my schedule, which allowed me to stay on track and graduate with my class in May. I never thought I would be able to do it, but with her help, I did.”
Recovery and Life After Open Heart Surgery
Today, Snow is completing the remainder of her treatment while enjoying the end of summer with Kinsley and weighing job offers. While she’s lost most of her hair as a result of the treatment, she prefers to view it as a “good experience.”
“When you realize you are truly blessed to be alive, losing your hair isn’t bad at all,” she says. “I’m one of the fortunate ones with great doctors like Dr. Scanlon, who caught it early, and Dr. Cleveland, who’s doing everything she can to make sure I’m around to raise my daughter. How can I be anything but grateful?”