A Bizymoms' Exclusive Interview with Lillie Shockney
1.At what age were you diagnosed with having breast cancer?
What was your first reaction? at age 38 and again at age 40
2.Did anyone in your family history have breast cancer?
no, onehelloh, however less than 12 % of women diagnosed have a family history.
3. You were and still are a registered nurse and a nurse takes care of patients who are not well. How did you feel when you were in the same situation as those patients?
It was scary flipping to the other side of the side rail. i also knew too much which can make it hard as well. It taught me a lot though having experienced this disease as a patient and has made me a better nurse as a result i think. There is a level to which nurses can be empathetic.... you can go beyond that level when you become a patient yourself.
4.Cannot even begin to understand how your family may have coped with the hard times. Did you advice them on how they should care for you?
Were they supportive? My husband was a rock from the start. My mother however was a basket case with the first diagnosis; much better 2 years later and as a result of that we co-founded national nonprofit org called Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer www.mothersdaughters.org My daughter was 12 and became comic relief for us all. She approached this disease through the eyes of a child and helped me find humor where I last expected it. This is a disease that effects everyone who lives the person who is diagnosed. It takes the whole family on a roller coaster that is scary at times. Communication is key. being open about feelings paramount. And finding something to laugh about daily is part of the treatment.
5.You co-founded a non-profit organization called "Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer." Were you a "daughter" with breast cancer?
That's correct. So now mothers everywhere feeling frantic when their daughter is diagnosed can contact this organization and get matched to a mother volunteer who had a daughter diagnosed at the same age and with the same stage of disease and treatment plan.
6. How many forms of breast cancer are there?
Which is the most common form? the most common is invasive ductal carcinoma-- 80% are that kind. invasive lobular is the second most common-- 15%. then there are others such as inflammatory breast cancer (rare for deadly for most sad to say), tubular (which is very favorable type) and a few others. DCIS, also known as noninvasive breast cancer-- stage 0, is being identified more and is not life threatening but warrants treatment. it is the earliest stage of breast cancer.
7.Besides your own experience, what else inspired you to dedicate your life to raising awareness about cancer?
I have always been one to give community service time for worthy causes. I felt that God was giving me the message to combine my nursing expertise with my personal experience with this disease and make the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer the least physically and emotionally traumatic that I can have it be. it was an easy decision to make.
8.If you were you say one word of inspiration to women with breast cancer, what would it be?
doable--- this is a disease that today is doable and can be beat. just roll up your sleeves and take it on.
9.Among the many awards you have received, the Global Business Leadership award, and other community service awards were presented to you.Could you elaborate the type of business and also what type of community services these were related to?
Health care industry. The community service awards related to my breast cancer work are the most special to me though. Professor of Survivorship was awarded to me by the Komen Foundation. this was the first time a non-MD received this award for my work in this field. Oncology Nursing Society awards too have come my way. The American Cancer Society as recognized me several times as locally and nationally for the dedication I have given to breast cancer patients personally and professionally. Same goes for Yoplait Breast Cancer Champion award, and others. There is no down time for breast cancer. it doesn\\\'t take holidays or vacation. it doesn\\\'t give you a break. so i have to be as dedicated to it as it is disruptive to the lives of women.
10. Would you like to share your insights with our Bizymoms?
I am a believer that things happen for a reason, though we may not know why at the time. I also believe that no matter what life dishes out to us it can be a learning opportunity and one that we can gain strength from in the end. Keep your glass half full. Never say why me. (why not me!?). Remember that they way to cope with crisis is setting an example for your children to witness and learn from. sometimes life just isn\\\'t fair. it probably wasn\\\'t meant to be. if we didn\\\'t have bad moments we wouldn\\\'t be able to recognize and value when we have good ones.
11. You have achieved so much up to now. Is there more lined up for
the future? there is still so much more i want to accomplish and do.... and i hope i will! I\\\'m working hard to create and implement national quality standards for the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. (its tough enough to be diagnosed. you shouldn\\\'t be having to worry whether you are in good hands or not. ) I\\\'m directly involved with clinical and lab research which is exciting and i can see the future is in our visual sight regarding prevention and cures... I am working hard also to create an advocacy program where people can come and learn the role and importance of patient advocacy so it can be implemented in more cancer settings. I even am working on a board game called "your patient has breast cancer" that will teach medical students about breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. and much more after that!