Life After Breast Cancer E25
Sareta and Chioma welcome Carly Moosah, breast cancer advocate and survivor, and co-founder of KeepEmQuiet.
Before joining the studio, the hosts briefly discuss how cancer has affected people in their lives and how important it is to get checked if you have any signs or symptoms of the disease.
Carly tragically lost her mother to breast cancer a decade before she, herself, was diagnosed with the disease aged 37.
As this weeks’ guest on Women Who Rebrand- the podcast, she tells us about her incredible journey, surviving cancer and what she plans to do next.
Carly wants to share her story to spread awareness about breast cancer and encourage people to check their boobs and know what to look for.
Carly Moosah – Life After Breast Cancer
Before her diagnosis, the message was loud and clear…early detection is vital. Carly is living proof that early detection is imperative; she had stage 2, grade 3, triple-negative Breast Cancer with a BRCA1 gene mutation.
She faced an aggressive treatment plan and radical surgery due to the gene; however, things were positive. Due to some chunky painful lymph nodes discovered on a chemo ward with her sister, Carly immediately booked to see her GP. Within a week, she was diagnosed, and her early detection likely saved her life.
Initially, Carly went into warrior mode, as her therapist put it. She shed very few tears but had a solid positive mental attitude. Although Carly didn’t want people to feel sorry for her, there were times when sharing her vulnerable moments was harder. Honouring authenticity, she opened herself up to sharing the highs and lows of her breast cancer journey and this chapter of her life. Carly had to admit that the lows were par the course. Some moments were the highest highs and lowest lows. Some days she felt like she had nothing to give, riddled with fatigue, chemo fog & relentless negativity.
Those were the hard days when she thought that perhaps sharing her journey may hinder the help she wanted to give; the realities of cancer can be very, very ugly.
We all carry specific genes that are usually protective against cancer. These genes correct any DNA damage that naturally happens when cells divide.
Inheriting variants of these genes significantly raises your risk of developing cancer because the altered genes cannot repair the damaged cells, which can build up and form a tumour.
BRCA1 and BRCA2 are examples of genes that raise your cancer risk if they become altered. BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene 1) and BRCA2 (BReast CAncer gene 2) produce proteins that help repair damaged DNA. Everyone has two copies of each of these genes—one inherited from each parent.
A variant BRCA gene significantly increases a woman’s chance of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
If you or your partner have a high-risk cancer gene, such as an altered version of BRCA1, it can be passed on to any children you have.
It’s true what they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. ” – Carly Moosah
When my husband and I launched KeepEmQuiet.com in 2016, I went from a private Instagram to a public one. I wanted to connect, network and help spread the word about our new venture in a mainly female blogging space, she shares.
I started opening up more and more about myself personally. About my grieving the loss of my Mum to breast cancer at 27, mental illness, and family history of depression, bipolar, and suicide attempts. About my eating disorder in my teens and body issues. I realised that connecting with people on this deeper level and sharing my story felt right. If it helped just one person, it was worth it to be vulnerable and honest. I have always found writing a cathartic, therapeutic experience, Carly continued.
In October 2019, I stripped down to a pink bra to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I lost my beautiful Mum to the disease, just as she lost hers, whom I never met. One month later, aged 37, I received a diagnosis myself. For 6 months, I had not mentioned my older sister’s Ovarian cancer diagnosis online. It was not my story to tell, and so I had lived and breathed cancer for 6 months whilst my Instagram told a different story. And now, here I was, with my own diagnosis. Do I silently just go quiet and knuckle down with treatment or include others to witness the maddest ride of my life?
For over a week, my family and I got our heads around the diagnosis. I told friends. I had tests. And we celebrated our baby girl turning 4 in amongst the agonising upheaval of all that lay ahead. And then, on Sunday evening, I wrote the words “I have breast cancer” on Instagram and clicked ‘share’. The support and outpouring of love immediately filled me with strength.
The highest points throughout sharing my cancer diaries have been the messages I received. People who have checked out pains and lumps previously ignored had the incredible relief of finding out they are benign.
Those messages make the sharing so, so worth it. By sharing my experiences, I have helped others through their cancer journeys.
This brings me to the point that if you have gotten this far, please do me one favour and check your boobs immediately. Don’t be scared; get to know your body, and get to the GP if you have any concerns. I felt like I was wasting everyone’s time waiting for my ultrasound. Please know that checking your health is NEVER wasting anyone’s time. Doctors get much more joy from telling you that you have nothing than telling you something. Please CHECK YOUR BOOBS.
A cancer diagnosis flips your world in an instant. It gives you a perspective on all you want your life to be if you can get to the other side. I’m nearing that side now, and I’m driven to live to my fullest, my healthiest, my best me. I have never ever been more convinced that all that truly matters is that we have our health and our loved ones.
This is the fundamental basis of happiness, and having cancer has made me reflect on all the beauty that love and health can allow.
Carly raised over £7000 for Copafeel, completing a 5-day, 100KM trek, in the Scottish Highlands.
Edith Eger was a teenager in 1944 when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. Despite overwhelming odds, Edith survived the Holocaust and moved with her husband to the United States. Having worked in a factory whilst raising her young family, she went on to graduate with a PhD from the University of Texas and became an eminent psychologist. Today, she maintains a busy clinical practice and lectures around the world.
The Gift: 12 Lessons to Save Your Life by Dr Edith Eger
- This book will help you…
- Find courage when it feels like all hope is lost
- Release your self-limiting beliefs
- Deal with grief and shame
- Discover how anger traps us and how to release it
Continue following Carly’s journey:
Further Breast Cancer Support
If you’ve been affected by any of the topics discussed visit:
The first breast cancer charity in the UK to solely create awareness amongst young people, with the aim of instilling the knowledge and tools they need to get to know their bodies. Coppafeel likes to talk about a serious message in a light-hearted way, empowering people to start healthy habits for life.
Future Dreams Breast Cancer Charity offers practical and emotional support as well as funding vital research and promoting breast awareness.
The charity was started in 2008 by mother and daughter Sylvie Henry and Danielle Leslie. By a cruel twist of fate, they were both diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Danielle just 35 and a mother of 3 young children. Tragically both women lost their lives to the disease within a year of each other in 2009.
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