My story starts different from most.  I didn’t find a lump nor did a routine mammogram discover a cancerous tumor.  My journey through breast cancer began with me being proactive and having an elective surgery to reduce my risk of breast cancer. I am BRCA1 positive.

There’s a long history of breast cancer on the maternal side of my family.  My mother is a survivor, having had breast cancer at the age of 37, hers was discovered by finding a lump in her breast.  I was 17 at the time and it was really hard and heartbreaking watching someone you love go through chemotherapy, radiation treatment, surgery, have no appetite, suffer with weight and hair loss and often not feel well.   Fast forward nineteen years later; and after constant prodding by her doctors, she decided to be tested for BRCA; the Breast Cancer Susceptibility Gene. If she was positive we (my two sisters and I ) would need to be tested as well.  I knew very little about BRCA, only having heard from it through the media with Angelina Jolie but I never paid much attention to it.  How soon I learned it was to determine if the risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer was higher than the general population.  In May 2015, my mother tested positive for BRCA1.  This began the domino effect of my sisters and I being tested.

On June 17th 2015, I had a mammogram and a few days later I received a call stating I needed to come in for further testing (a more detailed mammogram and an ultrasound) because they found something on the left breast.  I went in two weeks later and it was confirmed to be a water filled cyst.  I didn’t think too much of it because I knew I would be tested for BRCA1.  For me, my thoughts were convinced that it wasn’t cancer so there was nothing to worry myself about.


In July, I met with a genetics counsellor to discuss why it was important for me to test, what the test involved and what my options would be if the test was positive. Before you can test for BRCA it is very important to make sure your life insurance is in order and the way you want it to be.  If you’re positive then it is most likely you won’t be able to get coverage.

I decided on Living Benefits Protection Coverage. In August, I walked into a lab, had my blood drawn and began the two week waiting period for the results.  My genetics counsellor explained to me if the test was positive I would be asked to come in and if it was negative they would just tell me over the phone.  Well guess what, I got the call to come into the office. Turns out, my sisters tested positive too.  It’s rare for a mother and all of her daughters to test positive. I went back to my genetics counsellor and during this meeting it was explained to me what my options were: 1) Elective surgery, 2) Monitored every six months, 3) a five year oral chemo treatment, or 4) enrol in a clinical trial.  After much consideration I decided elective surgery would be the best option for me. You have to remember; I watched my mother go through breast cancer; so having the opportunity to reduce my risk and not have my kids see the same for me made my choice pretty simple.

My sisters and mother had also decided elective surgery was the best option for them. After we had made our decision and it became common knowledge, we received both positive support and criticism.  By many, we were told we were too young; we just wanted free implants and we didn’t have faith. However, when it came down to it, we were just trying to live before we needed to fight to live.

Now the journey of surgeries begins….  I started with a full hysterectomy and BSO (Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy) in December 2015. This means I was removing my ovaries, uterus, Fallopian tubes and uterus and I would go into immediate menopause.  Six weeks later and the day before my 36th birthday, I went in to surgery to become a previvor.  I was having a PBM (Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy) or elective double mastectomy with immediate reconstructive surgery.

During the surgery a tumor was found and a week later it was confirmed cancerous. What was most shocking was the exact thing happened to my older sister two weeks before me.  She too; had a mammogram several months before surgery that did not show a tumor.


I met with the oncologist, who turned out to be wonderful.  She was patient, kind, understanding and gentle.  This is such a sensitive conversation for most and I could feel she was aware of that.  She explained the cancer found was triple negative which is one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer.  I understood this even more because my cousin passed of triple negative breast cancer two days before my double mastectomy.  It was confirmed I would not have to do radiation but would definitely need four (one every twenty one days) of an aggressive chemo treatment.

At this point, the cancer was Stage 1 and it had not started to spread to my lymph nodes. What I can say is that many other women would possibly have felt scared or anxious however, I wasn’t scared or upset. I honestly felt okay and I feel it was my positive mindset which got me through it. I told myself to get through this like I did the surgeries, I also told myself to put on my ‘big girl pants’ and deal with this situation with the same strength.

Next up was a chemotherapy class I had to take. My daughter and I sat down with the oncology nurse and she reviewed what to expect from chemo, what to do if I had certain reactions and the side effects that may come.  This was a bit overwhelming and as she explained all of this I just quietly said to myself, ‘not on my body’.  I made a conscious decision not to accept or anticipate these things happening to me.

On February 25th 2016 I began my first of four chemotherapy treatments, I had to have the drugs Cytoxen and Taxotere and would also have to administer injections once a day for the first five days after each treatment to help increase my white blood cells.  Here’s how my first week went, starting the day after chemo.

Day 1: Felt pretty good.

Day 2: Felt okay, had an increased lack of energy but I had also had surgery a month before so some of the energy loss could have been from that.

Day 3: Started feeling weird and my taste buds started to change. My body felt heavy and to be honest,  I just wanted to stay in the bed.

Day 4: SHUT DOWN. I felt like I had a bad case of a horrible flu. It felt like bricks were on my legs. I could not taste any food.  I kept getting indigestion and I didn’t want to eat but I was hungry.  I didn’t take any phone calls.  I didn’t have the energy to talk to people.

Day 5: Is this feeling going to end? I started crying thinking about my sister starting chemo treatments and I didn’t want her to feel like this.

Day 6: Felt a little better.  I could eat again but still couldn’t taste anything.

Day 7: I was back to myself.  It was as if none of the previous days had ever happened.

The second week, I started to itch really bad, on my neck and under my arms. I went back to the doctor.  I was having a reaction to the taxotere.  My neck was flaming red and swollen and my underarms had nearly turned black.  I was given a cream to put on it and the steroids I was taking was increased to help with the reaction.  A week before my second treatment, I started to lose my hair.  In a matter of a week it was gone.  The crazy thing is on a Thursday, I still had some hair and Friday all of the back was gone.  I called my children into my room and told them I would be bald by the end of the day.  They sat with me as I took out braided plaits in my hair. As I un-braided, the hair was detaching from the scalp like Velcro. My oldest son looked at me and said “mom, you’re still awesome and beautiful.”  I decided at that moment to shave the rest. Chemo had done enough and I wasn’t going to let it take every strand. Shaving the rest was empowering, I was in control.  The hair meant nothing to me, I was alive.

With each round of chemotherapy, I lost all of my taste buds.  Overall I did not have a horrible experience with chemo.  No nausea, no diarrhoea, no vomiting.  I did have some side effects.  Chemo round 2 was like nothing happened.  Other than I couldn’t taste food, I was great the whole time.  I announced to the world through social media what I was going through and I received an overwhelming amount of support, love, prayers and encouragement.  Chemo 3 & 4, still felt great, however; I had bad leg and arm pain for several days at a time and my nails hurt. There were a few occasions where I collapsed a few times and my children carried me back to my bedroom.  That was the most heartbreaking yet heartfelt moment of all of this.

How did I get through this? During treatments, I always focused on the outcome of it all, life after this chapter ended.  I prayed and meditated.  I stayed positive and surrounded myself with great energy, great friends and of course my awesome great children.  I didn’t allow negativity into my space.  I didn’t take phone calls from people who drain me.  I wrote in my journal.  I talked to my sister everyday as we were both going through chemo together.  Most importantly, I celebrated life!

What has life been like after a breast cancer diagnosis and chemo treatments?  It’s been great. I see the beauty in things I would have normally never paid attention to.  I take the time to breathe and be in the moment.  I am now a Master Life Coach and my company Bella Fit Lifestyle ( specializes in helping women with self love, authentic happiness and life purpose.  I am preparing for the launch of my Self Investment Classes on January 28, 2017 in Los Angeles.  This first class is going to teach women how to conquer their goals for the year.  I also speak at different health events, bringing awareness of BRCA and the importance of knowing your family history and how that can save your life.  I encourage women to get their mammograms and encourage people overall to not ignore what their body is telling them.

To follow my journey, follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: tashachampion1.  To read the stories of my children and how they handled this visit  Feel free to submit your own story.


Living life in beautiful ways,

Tasha Champion



Editor’s Note: “I wanted to personally reach out to you Tasha and say thank you for sharing your inspiring story with the readers of In-spire LS. You’re are a modern day hero and I am pleased you’re using your experience to help others.” – Sasha Shantel



W| By Tasha Champion

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