Shelia Farley Best
I was born and raised in the City of New Haven and I have lived in Hamden for twenty-seven years. I am also a former employee of twenty years at the Yale Center for British Art. I was the first born with three male siblings and the first in my family to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
In June of 1994, I had a benign lumpectomy performed on my right breast. During my annual mammogram in October 2000, I knew something was wrong. The technicians repeatedly took X rays of my left breast and I had to wait for them to do an ultra sound. Also, the doctor never came out to tell me everything was o.k. and “see you next year.”
On November 10, 2000, after having many biopsies, my surgeon phoned to tell me that I had breast cancer. That day is forever etched in my memory because it was the day before I was to travel to London, England, for business, with my husband. At that point when I was told I had cancer, my entire life changed forever.
While in London, I absorbed myself in my work and literally did not think about the journey that I was about to face. On November 20, 2000, my surgeon performed a partial mastectomy, a lumpectomy, and removed lymph nodes from my left breast.
Once I healed from the surgery, I needed six months of chemotherapy and seven weeks of radiation treatments. Although the chemo treatments were most difficult for me to tolerate, I was blessed to be surrounded by supportive family and friends, especially my husband, John and my daughters, Margo and Charliah. I have been a breast cancer survivor for three years. Every day that I am still standing is a blessing from God. He has given me a second chance in life, and I truly intend to enjoy every moment. I have learned to appreciate life and how much my family and friends mean to me.
In September 2001, my oncologist put me on Arimedex for five years after I developed severe side effects from taking Tamoxifin. There were many times I would think “why me?” If I can take this burden so that my two daughters will never have to experience what I went through, then I say “why not me?”