Suzy | Houston, TX

I am a “baby boomer workaholic”. I run my own public relations agency in Houston, and I wasn’t prepared for the physical and emotional wallop that came following my breast cancer diagnosis. After undergoing a lumpectomy, lymph node removal surgery and six weeks of radiation, I felt spent. But the tipping point came after I started a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) treatment, which caused my estrogen levels to decrease. I was robbed of all of my estrogen. I had this horrible depression and normally I’m the happiest person in the world.

I immediately experienced a depression I had never known—stopped eating and lost a tremendous amount of weight. At 4’10” and 94lbs my entire life –I didn’t have much to lose. But my weight steadily declined along with my strength and that was tough. It was even tougher because my life needed to remain ‘business as usual’-- I didn’t want my clients or employees to know I was undergoing treatment –I didn’t want them to know I had cancer-- as I was certain they wouldn’t understand and I believed they would think I couldn’t get the job done. So, I continued working and traveling at the same pace.

Passing out at a client appointment and a day in the ER at M.D. Anderson was absolutely the tipping point. It served as my wake-up call. Changes needed to be made. And needed to be made fast. I was dying. Literally. My weight was down to 78lbs and I had no strength to move. When I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw a ghost—a ghost that was so boney and dried out-- I was embarrassed. Immediate action needed to be taken.

In addition to stopping the SERM treatment (with my doctor’s approval), I knew the best way to get out of the funk was to stay focused on the future, my career and to improve my diet. I worked my way through it and just started eating well. Food was important—I ate a lot to get my strength back up. I had juice daily and filled up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Within two months, I began feeling better. I am absolutely perfect now. I look great, I’m healthy and I no longer suffer from depression. I have time to relax. Once or twice a year I go to a yoga retreat, sit quietly and contemplate life. The diagnosis has made me think maybe there is something else I need to do in life.

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