You Can Do This!

I think faith and prayer helped me.

By Kathleen Swift


Breast cancer can strike at almost any age. When Shannon Ingle was 36, she had not even reached the recommended age for women to have their first mammogram. But it was an early mammogram and a doctor’s question that made all the difference for Shannon.


“My mom is a breast cancer survivor, and because of that, I did random self-checks of my breasts. In August 2015, I found something that didn’t feel normal,” recalled Shannon. But at the time, Shannon didn’t do anything about the lump she noticed.


“A few weeks later, I had an appointment with my primary care doctor for an unrelated issue, and as I was finishing my appointment, she asked if I had any other questions. I mentioned that I had found a lump, so she did an exam and sent me to get a mammogram.


“I got a call that evening saying that they found something suspicious, and I was scheduled for a biopsy. On October 6, after the biopsy, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and a lumpectomy was not an option for me.” Shannon chose to have a double mastectomy because her cancer was hormone related, and there was a chance it could come back in her other breast.


At that time, Shannon had a young daughter in kindergarten and one who was in pre-school. “It was tough times,” she recalled. “After the surgery in October, I had chemo and radiation from December 2015 until March 2016. My mom came and stayed with our family and helped me and my husband by cooking, cleaning and making sure we were all taken care of.


“I had a sense of peace the whole time. I’m a preacher’s kid, and I had people from coast to coast and all across the country praying for me. I never got sick during my chemo; I got very tired, but I didn’t get sick. I only had what was like a bad sunburn from the radiation, and I think faith and prayer helped me.”


Following her surgery, Shannon was told her cancer was stage 4 and had grown to be three separate tumors. There was simply more cancer in her body than any of the tests showed. “If I hadn’t listened to the doctor and had the mammogram, I don’t know where I would be.”


Shannon has kept a positive outlook throughout her diagnosis and treatment. “You’ve been assigned a mountain to show others it can be moved. I decided that cancer would be a chapter in my life but not the end of my life. My husband and I have two daughters to raise, and I wanted to show them that I could get through this.”


Today Shannon is doing great, and her scans have all been clear. She helps others through supporting Hope 4 You, participating in a Freeman Health System support group and through a survivors Facebook page.


“Keep positive. I’ve been there, and you can do this.”