My Story: Blessed, Bald & Beautiful
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In 2009, Cheryl Ash-Simpson had a wonderful career, beautiful teenage daughter and had just found the love of her life. Then something happened. Cheryl was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer just three days before her wedding. And not only was she preparing for her nuptials, but she was also planning a big move to Southeast Asia to begin her new life with her husband, Richard, who would be relocating to Malaysia shortly after the honeymoon for a new job.
Going through all these emotions: fear, joy for the wedding, nervousness, despiration, anger, etc was all apart of her journey, so Ash-Simpson decided to chronicle the whole thing in her documentary, “Sunshine, Noodles, And Me.”
Here’s how this wife, mother and filmmaker first found out:
“I was driving home from work one day and I just felt across my right breast and I thought I felt something, but I wasn’t quite sure. I ended up going to one of my doctors who actually handles my blood pressure medicine and never even checks my breasts and he said, ‘You should go get a mammogram.’ I thought that was odd. ‘Why is he telling me that?’ But I thought maybe that was God sending me to go get this mammogram, because it wasn’t time yet to get my mammogram. I usually get them in October and this was August, so it hadn’t even been a year yet. So I went to get my mammogram and insurance didn’t want to pay for it because it hadn’t been a year. I said ‘that’s okay, I still want you to check.’
So they did the mammogram and they didn’t find anything. But I have dense breasts. I have fibrocystic breasts, so I told them to do an MRI also. They did an MRI and didn’t see anything so I told them to keep looking. After about five minutes of continuing to look they did find what they called a ‘suspicious mass’ and it was hiding under a fibroid that I had for years. So she said, ‘Well, we need to biopsy it.’ At that point I didn’t really get alarmed because I’d had suspicious masses before, because of my breasts. I didn’t think much about it other than the fact that I was getting ready to get married, and I didn’t want the scar from the biopsy to affect my dress.”
“We do the biopsy and it turns out to be cancer and I get that three days before I’m getting ready to get married. We didn’t tell anybody. I told my husband. I told my maid of honor and one of the other attendees because we didn’t want it to turn into anything less than the positive event that it started out to be. We didn’t want to bring everybody down, so we just held it together.
Two weeks after we came back from the honeymoon, we did the first surgery. I opted for a lumpectomy. My margins weren’t clear so we had to go back in two weeks later and do another lumpectomy and then I received…