Thriving after Breast Cancer!

4 Jun

By Heather St. Aubin-Stout, speaker and author of Not My Mother’s Journey

When I was told I had been diagnosed with breast cancer, not the first time, but the second  diagnosis a year after the first, I decided I needed to make some changes in my life.

I had lost my mom to breast cancer twenty years before, but mine wasnʼt genetically linked. This however shaped how I dealt with having the disease and has led me to what Iʼm doing now-four years in remission after my second diagnosis.

Of course the world and the breast cancer community has changed in the last twenty years, so my journey was different from the beginning. My mom was diagnosed at stage three because she was told to ʻwatch and waitʼ when she found her lump. I didnʼt have a lump, mine was stage one found through my routine mammogram the first time and a screening MRI a year later.

I surrounded myself with support during diagnosis and treatment. I had a nurse navigator and a team of doctors who communicated with each other to recommend the best treatment options. I also interviewed three surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, and plastic surgeons until I found the one I was most comfortable with.

Having three teenage boys at the time, my experience was different from the young women diagnosed with toddlers or the older women diagnosed who had no children living at home. My experience was different from the women I talked to whose daughters wanted to come with them to chemo infusions and made them special cards.

I knew there were more people like me dealing with situations like mine. I decided to not go back to architecture when I was done with treatment, but to write a book about my experience. One of my childhood dreams was to be an author. My husband encouraged me and my new life began. It was cathartic, and it was painful to remember those years I had just survived, but I was doing this for a reason. I knew my story might help someone else.

When Not My Motherʼs Journey was released in January, 2011 I began marketing. I set up book signings at book stores in my region. I was asked to speak. I am not a public speaker, but I said yes. I quickly found out that I sold more books when I spoke at an event. I also found out how my story touched people. Iʼm beginning again…another new journey from author to speaker. Iʼve prayed about it and Iʼve taken a few classes to help reassure me that this is the path Iʼm meant to be on. Iʼm finding that I may be a public speaker after all.


Please go to to see if there is an event that Heather will be at in your area or to contact her if you would like to invite her to your event!

Heather St. Aubin-Stout


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