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My name is Elisa Shea, and I am a 23-year cancer survivor. In 1985, I was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. My treatment was typical of most childhood cancer patients. It included 18 months of chemotherapy, six weeks of radiation and three surgeries. >>
I am a two-time breast cancer survivor. Thirteen years ago, my doctor found a mass on my breast during a routine mammogram. Fortunately it was encapsulated, allowing me to have a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation to eradicate the cancer and reduce the chances of recurrence. >>
It took me nearly two years and 20 doctors to learn that I had liver cancer at the age of 28. With no risk factors, nothing could have been further from my mind – or my doctor’s – when I went for a medical workup prior to having a liposuction procedure. >>
Since the day I was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in February 2007, I have been wrestling alligators. Not literally, of course, but figuratively as I step away from my family and friends to receive difficult treatments and tests, face harsh news and look deep into my soul. >>
My life is a testament to the value of routine colonoscopies. When I turned 50, my physician urged me to have a baseline colonoscopy. I had spent my life taking good care of myself, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. >>
As a teenager and young adult, I always felt more comfortable with people who were older than me. When I was diagnosed with my first early-stage melanoma at 18, I realized I had even more in common with older people. >>