Written by on 6/24/2014 8:00:00 AM
This is the final post in a four-part blog series. Stacy Costa is a breast cancer survivor who was treated at Community Cancer Care Center. One year into survivorship, she credits Dr. Robert Goulet and her breast cancer team for her survival.
“I thought I knew what to expect with breast cancer," said Costa. "As an 18-year-old girl my aunt’s breast cancer experience was very vivid. I knew about surgery, chemotherapy and that you typically lost your hair."
Costa expected to be prepared for the side effects of breast cancer, but she wasn't. When she fit began to lose her hair, it was very emotional.
“I thought the hair loss wouldn’t matter, but it did," said Costa. "As I showered, bits of my hair, or what was left of it, washed away. But it didn’t wash off of me easily.”
Costa decided to take control and shave her head.
In doing so, she was surprised to find that her husband, little boy and brother shaved their heads too - a show of support and solidarity.
“It was a really cool moment when my little boy Aaron said he wanted to look like me,” said Costa. “It really touched me that my older brother shaved his head too, and when asked at work (jokingly) ‘Why – do you have cancer?’ His reply was no, my sister does. He’s a great big brother and that strength is my strength.”
Costa didn’t hide or take a break from work after she shaved her head. She did just the opposite and chose to sport a new hats or bandanas.
But even now, as a survivor, Costa can still see the side effects of treatment.
“I could control the pain from the treatments and recovery process, but I couldn’t control the fact that my hair came back curlier and grayer, or that my finger nails and toenails grow weirdly now,” said Costa. “I knew we were getting rid of the bad cancer cells, but other little things changed too."
She said that have to get comfortable with change and find the beauty and strength within yourself.
Costa said, "You have to say, 'It’s all about me', and make that your health the focus.”
To read more about Costa's journey with cancer and survivorship, see our previous blog posts.