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Stephanie Stavro-Pearce

Steph is a therapist, social worker, mother & friend. She is here to share her story and family history with breast cancer in hopes to spread awareness and create a supportive space & community.

Visit Reaching Resolution Therapy to learn more about Stephanie's approach to mental health support.

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I’m sharing this because I believe in the power of shared experience. Relatability helped me make decisions, manage, cope, & may help others accept, heal, & find the strength to move forward. I know there are many people out there with the gene, with the decisions, impacted directly or indirectly with breast cancer. We’re in this together, you’re not alone.

Stephanie's Story

"My story starts with my grandmother. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 70’s and after undergoing a single mastectomy, it returned a few years later and she passed away. At the time, I was 19 years old. 

In 2021, doctors detected a lump in my mother’s breast during a mammogram & [she] was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after. It was scary. I’ll never forget her words before sharing the news with me, “I don’t want you to worry”. They recommended a single mastectomy however, with the family history and results showing that she carried the BRACA gene, she preferred to have both breasts removed. My mom underwent a double mastectomy procedure in June of 2021 and it has now been two years since her initial diagnosis. Her resiliency & bravery encouraged me to face this reality. 

Soon after I completed the same genetic testing and too discovered that I am BRACA positive. I was given choices - routine breast screening, MRIs, ultrasounds, or have preventative surgery, in my case a prophylactic double mastectomy. It was hard to consider what to do, but with the support of my husband, mother, and friends, I made the decision and underwent the procedure in early 2022. It was a challenging and emotion-filled journey to navigate. 

Once the process was done, I was proud of my choice and began to move forward. Leaning on the supports in my life when needed was integral to my healing. I’ve worked through many feelings by reminding myself that being present and living without fear for myself, my husband, and my children is most important."

An important aspect of processing difficult information is vulnerability. Allow yourself to feel and be with the emotions that are present without fear or worry of being judged. Externalizing is helpful; some journal, others talk. Expressing thoughts and emotions, whether independently or with people that feel safe and non-judgmental, is a useful coping skill.

Resources

Whether you are seeking individual/group therapy, self care & mindfulness techniques or simply looking to talk to a trusted friend; there are coping strategies & resources to help you process and get the support you need.

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