Connector October 2022

30 31 CONNECTOR.AE CONNECTOR.AE Breast cancer can spread rapidly and be caused by genetics or unhealthy lifestyles. Many people go through varying stages of cancer, and can find it difficult to open up about their struggles and experiences. Stephanie Neuhold went on her breast cancer journey and in conversation with Connector shared her experience. Living in Dubai for over 12 years, Stephanie is the Hotel Manager at Rove Hotels and is also a mother to a five-year-old daughter. While planning on having a second child, Stephanie wanted to make sure she was in the clear before welcoming a new member to the family. As risks are higher with family history, and having first-hand experience of losing some of the people she loves to breast cancer, Stephanie was diligent and careful to make sure she got regular check-ups. In March 2020, when Stephanie went for a check-up she got an all-clear, but in August of the same year when she got checked again, a pearl-sized ball was detected. Unsure if it was benign or cancer, a biopsy was carried out, which Stephanie shared was one of the hardest experiences, as the results could be life-changing and took six days to come. Stephanie was then detected with BRCA 1 triple negative, which is a mutation from her genetics and was informed that it is an aggressive form of cancer with another one detected behind the first one. After her diagnosis on 13 August 2020, it was a fast-paced journey as she quickly started chemotherapy, three weeks later on 4 September. Six months later on 1 February 2021, her 16 sessions of chemotherapy came to an end but due to her genetic mutation, getting a double mastectomy was advised to remove the breast, with the tumour, tissue and lymph nodes, as there was an 85% possibility of cancer reoccurring, and a month later, the double mastectomy surgery was carried out in a five and a half hour procedure. Stephanie said, "It takes a lot of courage to say I want to know if there is a percentage that I have a reoccurrence because if there is a genetic default, you pass it on to your family." Stephanie strongly advises people with or without a family history, when ready, to do a genetic test to see if they are at high risk for breast cancer. With cancer, it is a rollercoaster of emotions that a person goes through, and people do not stay the same and over time, everyone around you has to get to know you again. As chemotherapy changes hormones and weakens the immune system, it requires dietary as well as lifestyle changes. Stephanie experienced a wide range of side effects from nausea, loss of sleep and weight gain and even when the cancer was taken out, the adverse side effects from chemotherapy included numbness of fingers and toes, fatigue, lack of sleep, memory loss, stressed out by simple tasks, overwhelmed easily and not able to multitask. For Stephanie, her side effects took a toll on her for over a year and a half and slowly but surely was able to get back to feeling more Stephanie Neuhold: Coming Out Stronger After Cancer Journey Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UAE and in 2021, it accounted for 21.4% of all cancer cases. Health and Wellness Health and Wellness