With A Little Help From My Friends: Social Support Gave Me Strength To Fight Breast Cancer
By: Shayna Fabrizio, Herbalife Nutrition Independent Distributor
I got the call no one wants to get: my doctor asked me to come in to discuss the test results after finding a lump on my breast. In December 2017, I received my diagnosis – I had breast cancer.
My reaction was shock and disbelief. I am a mother of three wonderful boys, who are everything to me. I’m a wife to Nick, my amazing husband of almost 20 years. I’m a physical therapist, an entrepreneur, a friend, a daughter – and now a breast cancer survivor.
I got into the Herbalife Nutrition business 11 years ago to be able to have life and work balance and devote my time, energy and resources to my children. The possibility of not being there to watch them grow, go to college or get married scared me, but it was this same thought which inspired me to fight tooth and nail to beat this diagnosis.
I’ve now been through chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. They all took a toll on my body and I often felt exhausted, but there was a crucial element that kept me going: community support. My family and friends encouraged me every day and brought me peace and joy. I was moved when my second family, the Herbalife Nutrition team, also came through for me. Doing this business has brought with it the opportunity to help change people’s lives and provide them with a community of support. The love and support I got in return from distributors and customers in my time of need was simply amazing.
My family and I received countless meals while I was going through my treatments. My nutrition club family organized “Pink Outs”, where they held cardio-drumming classes with pink “Shayna Strong” shirts. Friends and colleagues flew from around the country to my chemo and radiation treatments. I received countless notes, photos, posts, gifts and texts from Herbalife Nutrition employees and coaches. The positive energy and support I received was integral to my journey and critical for my mindset to keep me moving forward.
I also drew strength from talking to women who had been through what I was experiencing. Before my diagnosis, I knew nearly nothing about breast cancer and even though everyone’s journey is different, connecting with women who shared my diagnosis was incredible guidance for me. I now look forward to being that support for other women.
I am grateful to say I have beaten breast cancer and I feel amazing. I’m getting my energy back and I am eager to return to some of the things I love. I look forward to the future now more than ever. I think about the next five, 10 or 20 years, and I visualize what that is going to look like for my family and me. I picture us traveling and taking the kids on vacations. I look forward to them growing up and all of us transitioning to the next phase of our lives as a family.
For people that are going through a difficult situation and may not have a support system, I would encourage them to be open about their story. One of the most beautiful things that I experienced was that when people knew I had breast cancer –whether they knew me well, barely knew me, or didn’t know me at all– they reached out, held my hand or shared their story. Open up and people will respond.