Sherry Biggham – Breast cancer survivor shares her story
It was nothing short of a nightmare what Sherry Biggham experienced right before the Christmas holidays in 2009.
Feeling a sharp, “excruciating pain” in her left breast, she immediately made an appointment with her physician.
“My doctor examined my breast and urged me to get it checked by another breast specialist — an oncologist,” Biggham recalled. “It was confirmed that I had stage two breast cancer, and I was dazed by the news. I said, ‘OK,’ and then went through a series of biopsies to reconfirm it. After I was given a definite confirmation that I had breast cancer, I was determined to keep the news to myself — because it was the holidays and I didn’t want to worry my family.”
Along with the pain in her breast, Biggham noticed something else.
“My nipples started pulling back and I could feel little bitty clusters in them,” she said. “The cancer was in the milk ducts of my breast. I went on various websites and looked at different photos of women (with) breast cancer — and saw a photo with the nipple pulling in, that looked just like mine.”
Frustrated by the conflicting information provided by her local doctors, Biggham started to conduct her own research. While doing that research, a friend in Arizona — who was battling colon cancer — told her about the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
“Once I began treatment for my cancer, I took my friend’s advice and went to Arizona to Cancer Treatment Centerss of America,” she said. “They give you a team of people to help the mind, body and soul deal with the trauma of breast cancer. I had a nutritionist, a naturopathic (doctor), along with an oncologist and my own caregiver. It was all about being in the right mindset for recovery — and they made sure I was.”
The cancer was aggressive, so Biggham decided to undergo a mastectomy followed by reconstructive surgery to replace her breast. Over the course of her recovery, Biggham absorbed a lot of information from doctors and other professionals on the various causes of breast cancer.
“I have been told that high estrogen levels contribute to getting breast cancer and also belly fat and being overweight,” she said. “I know that breast cancer does not discriminate, and if anyone has an instinct that something is wrong with their breast, demand that your doctor give you a MRI test. I thought that I was too young to get it at age 44, but that proved to be wrong.”
If a woman finds herself diagnosed with breast cancer, Biggham would encourage her to reach out to friends and family.
“Don’t be by yourself a lot if you ever find out you have cancer. Staying alone will only give you crying time,” she said. “Have some of your best friends or family around at all times to make you feel better and they will serve as your emotional caregivers. It is also a good idea to have call buddies you can call at any time. I trust that anyone can make it through with early detection and good health practices — because I did.”