My name is Shelly Straub. I am a mom, a fiance, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a hard worker, and a SURVIVOR!
I was raised in Central New York.
In October of 2013, at 40 years old, my breast cancer journey began. The original reason for my A Tale of 2 Boobies blog was to keep family and friends informed of my cancer status, but soon it became more about finding purpose AFTER the diagnosis, as well as sharing my mission of early detection while fundraising for a cure. In May 2015, a biopsy revealed that I also have basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) on my right leg up in the groin area.
I am an entrepreneur at heart and have always had many ambitions, and many small businesses. Most notably, I spent 5 years as founder and Editor of Connextions Magazine and while my dreams were once filled with Coach bags, red bottom heels and high rise parties in NYC... a life filled with simple moments shared with loved ones is what drives me today. The small business that I take pride in today is all about memory keeping so those treasured moments will live long after I do. www.moodmetals.com
I prefer not to be defined by cancer, but my life has certainly changed because of it. So many people helped me while I was going through my treatments, so now that I am a survivor, I feel compelled to return the love that was given to me. My better half and I have started the #BattleBuddy campaign, which raises awareness about the importance of the people who support cancer patients during their time of need. I also founded and ran a 501c3 non profit organization for 3 years called Hope Chest for Charity.
I am also the publisher of the CNY Breast Cancer Community Resource Guide, which offers the Central New York community a free downloadable magazine filled with everything breast cancer related in that area.
There are many ways to live a rich life, even without millions in the bank. Today, I find joy in the people I choose to surround myself with and the adventures I share with them.
BREAST CANCER: I went for my very first mammogram and was diagnosed with breast cancer that same day.
I had cancer in my right breast but had lumps in both my breasts. The chances of getting cancer in the other breast was very likely, so on December 9, 2013 I had a double mastectomy and I opted for the immediate reconstruction surgery.
After surgery, there was cancer detected in more than one of the 24 lymph nodes that were removed and I was diagnosed as having Stage 2b breast cancer.
Stage 2B Breast Cancer:
Stage 2 means the breast cancer is growing, but it is still contained in the breast or growth has only extended to the nearby lymph nodes.
This stage is divided into groups: Stage 2A and Stage 2B. The difference is determined by the size of the tumor and whether the breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
What does the 'B' mean?
The tumor is between the 2 and 5 centimeters and has spread to the lymph nodes.
My treatment plan to remove cancer:
Bilateral mastectomy - completed Dec 9, 2013
Chemotherapy - completed May 8, 2014
Radiation - completed Aug 19, 2014
Tamoxifen - decided against medical advice not to take this drug
I wrote the book that I wished I had found when I was first diagnosed.
1. I am NOT a professional writer.
2. This book was written shortly after my chemo treatments
3. This book has NOT been edited by any professional.
It is simply my story that I felt was important to write down before it was long forgotten.
From diagnosis to surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy drugs, this is what One Year with Cancer looks like.
Learn more about my book "A Tale of 2 Boobies: One Year With Cancer"
You can find me on the web here:
My breast cancer stories have been published here:
On the Cancer Knowledge Network website, I wrote about my personal relationship with the month of October --> https://cancerkn.com/my-personal-relationship-with-october-by-shelly-straub/?platform=hootsuite
Cover feature story in Syracuse Woman Magazine, October 2016.
I am a guest blogger on Cure Diva.
My story has been published on The Breast Cancer Site, which you can find here: http://thebreastcancersite.greatergood.com/clickToGive/bcs/story/cancer-you-are-not-the-enemy930
I am a guest blogger on Cancer Knowledge Network and my story about immediate reconstruction after a mastectomy is published here. --> http://cancerkn.com/immediate-reconstruction-post-mastectomy/ _