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Stay Strong

A decade ago, when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I blogged my way through treatment, sharing every step of my journey with courage and hope. Now, ten years later, I continue to share my story to inspire and empower others facing similar challenges. My experience taught me the true meaning of resilience, the power of love, and the importance of self-care. Join me as I continue to blog and vlog about my journey, reminding everyone that with unwavering determination and support, it is possible to overcome even the toughest obstacles. Together, we can find strength, celebrate life, and spread hope and healing.

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A moment of my story

My name is Shelly Straub. I am a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a hard worker, and a SURVIVOR!

I was raised in Central New York.

In October of 2013, at 40 years old, my breast cancer journey began.  The original reason for my blog was to keep family and friends informed of my cancer status, but soon it became more about finding purpose AFTER the diagnosis, as well as sharing my mission of early detection while fundraising for a cure.  In May 2015, a biopsy revealed that I also have basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) on my right leg up in the groin area.

I am an entrepreneur at heart and have always had many ambitions, and many small businesses.  Most notably, I spent 5 years as founder and Editor of Connextions Magazine and while my dreams were once filled with Coach bags, red bottom heels and high rise parties in NYC... a life filled with simple moments shared with loved ones is what drives me today.  The small businesses that I take pride in today are what fills me with purpose.

I prefer not to be defined by cancer, but my life has certainly changed because of it.   So many people helped me while I was going through my treatments, so now that I am a survivor, I feel compelled to return the love that was given to me.  My better half and I have started the #BattleBuddy campaign, which raises awareness about the importance of the people who support cancer patients during their time of need. I also founded and ran a 501c3 non profit organization for 3 years called Hope Chest for Charity.

I published CNY Breast Cancer Community Resource Guide, which offers the Central New York community a free downloadable magazine filled with everything breast cancer related in that area.

There are many ways to live a rich life, even without millions in the bank.  Today, I find joy in the people I choose to surround myself with and the adventures I share with them.


I went for my very first mammogram and was diagnosed with breast cancer that same day.

I had cancer in my right breast but had lumps in both my breasts.  The chances of getting cancer in the other breast was very likely, so on December 9, 2013 I had a double mastectomy and I opted for the immediate reconstruction surgery.

After surgery, there was cancer detected in more than one of the 24 lymph nodes that were removed and I was diagnosed as having Stage 2b breast cancer. 

Stage 2B Breast Cancer:
Stage 2 means the breast cancer is growing, but it is still contained in the breast or growth has only extended to the nearby lymph nodes.

This stage is divided into groups: Stage 2A and Stage 2B. The difference is determined by the size of the tumor and whether the breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

What does the 'B' mean?
The tumor is between the 2 and 5 centimeters and has spread to the lymph nodes.

My treatment plan to remove cancer:
Bilateral mastectomy - completed Dec 9, 2013
Chemotherapy - completed May 8, 2014
Radiation - completed Aug 19, 2014
Tamoxifen - decided against medical advice not to take this drug

Head to my website for the rest!

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