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Dawson Cheryl

Shauna Price, left, and her mother Cheryl Price, attend Pink Night Out at Northside Dawson
Medical Campus on Sept. 21. “I’m here to support my mom,” the younger woman said.
PHOTO BY DENISE RAY

Breast cancer survivor discovers joy through diagnosis

“Joy comes from the heart. It’s deep.”

By Denise Ray, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The diagnosis of breast cancer can be frightening, especially when the disease claimed the life of your mother at a young age.

When Cheryl Price, then 49, answered a ringing telephone in her Edgewood, Ky. home 10 years ago, a strange voice told her the news.

“My gynecologist didn’t call me,” the petite grandmother said. “This other doctor called me at home when I was by myself to tell me that I had aggressive breast cancer.”

Price was told she had early, early stages of Stage I Triple Negative breast cancer, a non-hormone related type of cancer. “My mother died at 49 from it when I was 23 years old,” Price said, who, ironically was diagnosed at 49 and her eldest daughter, Melissa, was 23.

Vividly remembering her mother’s suffering, Price’s reaction to her news was understandable. “I wailed,” she said. “I literally wailed because I knew what it was going to be like.”

Her mother was diagnosed in 1981 and underwent a radical mastectomy, resulting in painful welling of her arms. She also endured chemo, suffering with nausea and vomiting. “It was just horrible for her,” Price continued. “She got sores all over her head and it just spread rapidly.”

By the time she went to her doctor to discuss her options, Price said she already had herself dead. Her doctor’s response was quite the opposite. He said he thought everything was going to be fine because it was caught early despite the fact that it was doubling while they were watching it on an ultrasound, she said. Enduring an aggressive treatment of chemo and radiation was awful, Price said. “I remember it was Melissa’s birthday. I was laying on the couch. She had sat close by and I would peek out from under the blanket to watch her unwrap her gifts.”

Two weeks into treatment Price said she had a conversation with God. “Lord, you have a plan and a purpose,” she shared. “I’m going to trust you, but what I would like for you to do is give me joy through this whole thing. And He did. He gave me joy in everything. I was able to encourage others and be a blessing to others because of that.” Price’s daughters, Melissa and Shauna, under went the BRCAI and BRCA2 testing to determine their genetic risk, which is non-existent. “I was prepared to have the surgery to have my breasts removed,” Shauna said. “I’m glad and thankful that I didn’t have to do that.”

Price, cancer-free for 10 years, has become philosophical. “Happiness depends on your circumstance, everything that surrounds you,” she reflected. “Joy comes from the heart. It’s deep.” She shares her joy, too. Price, her husband Buddy, and Shauna created “Blue Light Snack Pack” an organization that provides nutritious snacks to law enforcement officers who, as a result of the nature of their jobs, find themselves unable to take time during a shift to eat a meal. She and her daughters have formed a business, Sweet Sassafras Boutique, an in-home boutique.

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