Sheena Hinds: Double mastectomy saved my life
Sheena Hinds was in love with her perfect cosmetically enhanced breasts. But on May 26, 2016 after some prompting from her general physician to have a mammogram done, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, news that rocked her world and threatened her “two girls”.
“I was in disbelief and denial. I couldn’t believe it at first, but I knew I had to fight it,” she said.
Sheena, born in Barbados, moved to the United States back in 2001 in search of something more.
Now a Chief Independent Duty Corpsman in the United States Navy, Sheena embarked on the fight of her life following her prognosis.
“I fought for a year and a half. Some days felt like more of a fight than others, but I pushed through,” Sheena said via an email interview due to time differences and the demands of her job. She was out most of the day on the ship, only getting back to shore late evenings.
Sheena received a double mastectomy to ensure that she was completely cancer free, but this also took away her “lovely fake boobs”.
“Treatment is multi-faceted. My last neo-adjuvant chemo infusion was administered on October 5, 2017, but I had a bilateral mastectomy on November 7, 2016, so some say I was ‘cancer-free’ after surgery,” she explained.
Sheena said in the initial stages following her mastectomy and beating cancer, her main goal was seeing and realising that she was completely rid of the dreaded cancer.
“I’m a health care provider myself, so until I saw the results of my PET scan and the results of my lymph node dissection, I didn’t completely believe I had beaten it,” she added.
Once she had that confirmation, however, Sheena said it was a feeling unlike anything she has ever felt.
“I felt a mixture of relief and overwhelming gratitude to God, my oncologist, and my doctor who made me get the mammogram in the first place. Relief that I could finally get back to living my life as Sheena, and not the girl who had cancer,” she said.
The situation, Sheena said, has completely changed her in more ways than one. But she said thankfully, it was for the better.
“Physically, I’m about 20 pounds heavier and I don’t have perfect fake tits anymore,” she said with a chuckle.
“But seriously, my value is no longer bound as tightly to my appearance as it once was. I’m more concerned with the legacy I leave and making sure that the memories others have of me after I’m gone are good ones. I’m a lot more demanding and more intense than I ever was about every aspect of my life, work, personal, friendships, and so on. I don’t keep anything in anymore. I make my feelings and intentions known right away and I crave clarity and transparency in every interaction. I demand more of myself and of those around me. I will also drop everything to help someone and I no longer hesitate in letting people know how I feel. I say I love you a lot more,” she said.
And the Navy girl said her faith is stronger than ever before now. And she knows for sure that her life was spared for a reason.
“I know for sure now that faith can indeed move mountains and God is so real. God and the belief that He kept me here to leave my mark on this Earth,” she added.
Sheena said her outlook on life hasn’t changed, but she is definitely a lot more appreciative for it.
“Now, I cannot tolerate dishonesty or negativity; my soul physically rejects it. I am extremely protective of my aura and energy and take better care of myself now than I did before I was diagnosed,” she added.
Since her journey, Sheena has nothing but advice for younger women, especially the ones who have not yet gone to get tested.
“Get tested. Do yourself exams, monthly, in the shower. Get your mammogram and if cancer runs in your family, ask your doctor about genetic testing for the BRCA gene mutation.
And for the ones diagnosed and dealing with cancer, Sheena had advice for them as well.
“Cancer has to defeat you in your mind, before it ever has a chance to defeat your body. Don’t let it,” she added. (DB)