BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Mrs. Shaun Lacy Ward’s life changed forever in April 2009, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It was a gut punch and felt like a ton of bricks had been dropped in my stomach,” said Ward.
Today, she’s beaten cancer and is approaching life with a new appreciation for the little things. Ward is sharing her story to help others fighting a similar battle. It’s scary, she said, but you’re not alone and help is available.
“I just knew that meant I was going to die,” she said. “That is what I knew. No one in my family had breast cancer that I knew of.”
Ward’s journey to remission began with surgery to remove the malignant tumor. From there, she had “six months of treatments every three weeks with chemotherapy and then radiation for six months,” according to Ward.
She was cancer-free in 2010.
In 2011, Ward learned that she had another tumor, but this time, it was benign. With her son getting married soon, she said she had a lot to fight for. She wanted to walk the aisle, see him wed.
The news that she was in remission, Ward said, “was a relief, and I had more life to live.”
It has been 14 years since the initial diagnosis, and Ward is still in remission. Her journey to this point was made possible with the help of her family and cancer survivor groups.
Ward said that family was her biggest support, including her oldest son Shaun, along with her mom, husband at the time and three other sons. They went to everything with her. Whether it was doctor appointments, chemotherapy or radiation treatments, “they were there for it all.”
She found the same help through cancer survivor support groups. Ward said seeing so many women in remission helped a lot.
“It gave me an excitement. ‘Hey, if they can do this, then God, I know you can help me do this too.’ This is not the end,” she said.
She suggests that anyone fighting breast cancer should find all the community they can.
“Find a support group, always try to stay positive,” said Ward. “Keep your thinking on the up and up. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. It does not have to be family that helps you through the process. That’s how we live and learn.”
After getting a full hysterectomy in 2015, Ward gets a mammogram done once a year.
The Baton Rouge woman said she has a greater appreciation for life now. Little things, like getting out of bed by herself, have new meaning.
“Being able to do those things again by myself, it makes me value life even more,” said Ward.
Listen to your body, she said. We need to give ourselves a break, “step back and relax.” It makes a difference.
Ward encourages women to checked for cancer even if it is scary or painful.
“What is a little uncomfortableness if it helps save your life?”
She wanted to thank the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Baton Rouge Clinic and Baton Rouge General for helping her during her cancer journey.