Rush County woman overcomes breast cancer

Provided photoBreast cancer survivor Christy Sheehan is pictured with Dr. Bryan Schneider from I.U. Simon Cancer Center.

RUSHVILLE — In February, doctors told Christy Sheehan that she was breast cancer free after being diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in August of last year.

The 47 year old will participate in the 24th annual “Stars of Pink” Breast Cancer Survivor Fashion Show Oct. 13 in Indianapolis.

Sheehan’s battle has made her an advocate for breast cancer awareness and receiving regularly scheduled mammograms.

“I wasn’t sure about modeling in the show at first, but Carolyn Wesley convinced me to do it at a pink ribbon connection meeting,” Sheehan said. “I’m all about paying it forward and I felt god was going to use me to help others in the same situation.”

Sheehan was born and raised in Rush County. She is a teacher at Laurel Elementary in Franklin County and has taught for 25 years.

Sheehan has two sons in college. She said she enjoyed attending their sporting events in high school.

Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her family.

Sheehan’s primary passions in life are helping other people and being involved in her church.

Doctors detected an abnormality in the tissue in Sheehan’s right breast during her annual mammogram. Sheehan said she wasn’t concerned at first, because she knows of other women who’ve received the same news and everything turned out fine.

But, on Aug. 9, 2017 a biopsy revealed she had an invasive form of breast cancer. She said her life was like a whirlwind after that.

According to breast, the five year survival rate for TNBC is around 77 percent versus 93 percent for other breast cancer types. The survival rate depends on many factors including the stage and grade of the cancer.

Sheehan and her doctors decided to try chemotherapy first in hopes the tumor would shrink. She received eight rounds of chemotherapy from September to December of last year.

Then, she had a lumpectomy to remove the tumor and underwent 20 rounds of radiation. Her body fought off the cancer well.

“I’m cancer free now. It was the best news ever!” Sheehan said. “It was only a matter of time to build back my strength. My hair is growing now.”

Her first mammogram since being cleared was in September. She received the news that the cancer still hadn’t returned.

Sheehan gave a lot of credit to her support system for helping her during her battle.

“My family was very supportive. Ladies at my church organized a Pink Out Day where everyone at church wore pink,” Sheehan said. “My teacher friends were so kind. They organized Sheehan Strong Night at the school.”

Sheehan has a supportive aunt who was also diagnosed with breast cancer. Her aunt was cleared of cancer and had it return three times in the past. She is still fighting cancer today.

Sheehan said that is one of the reasons why it is important for her to advocate for breast cancer awareness even after being cleared by her doctors.

“I feel like raising awareness for early detection is very important. Mine was caught in stage one,” Sheehan said. “Making women aware may make them get mammograms more regular and draw attention to early detection.”