I’m excited about my new adventure

When people stop and reflect on 2020, many will say, “Wow, what a whirlwind!” But, for Alexandra Brodeur, truer words could not be spoken, and perhaps not in the way many might think.

We sat down with Alexandra a year ago after she had concluded 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 21 rounds of radiation therapy for a stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis. She was only 28 when she received the news of cancer, but at the time of her interview, she had overcome the worst of it and was brimming with positivity and hope for the future.

“My plan for the future is just to have fun – live life,” she said at the time. “See the world. Work, but don’t take it too seriously. Just be the best I can and be happy.”

Twelve months later, pandemic and all, it has been quite a year.

Alexandra, sporting a new pert ponytail, is still beaming with gratitude and getting ready for her next big life change: a move to Pittsburgh with her longtime boyfriend.

“About a month ago, my boyfriend and I found out that he was offered a job in Pittsburgh that was a great opportunity that he definitely couldn’t pass up,” she told us. “I said, ‘Gotta go for it! Life’s too short, so let’s take it. Let’s move while we are young. We don’t have kids…so, let’s just take the dogs and go.’”

Already set up with a new cancer center in the Pittsburgh area to continue her monthly checkups and maintenance treatments, Alexandra admits the move is bittersweet.

“I’m excited about my new adventure, but I am also sad,” she says.  “I don’t think I could have gotten through [treatment] as easily without all the nurses and the doctors I’ve had at Southcoast. Even before finding the lump and being diagnosed, I had met Dr. Braithwaite. The moment I walked into her office, I felt a sense of relief and compassion from her that made me feel safe.”

She’s optimistic about the care she will receive in Pittsburgh, but can’t help but take pause when reflecting on her experience at Southcoast.

“I let myself cry only twice during treatment,” Alexandra says. A self-professed positive person by nature, Alexandra said that she didn’t allow herself enough time to process her anxieties and sadness during treatment; afterward, it hit her all at once. She said that this past year has presented some unexpected emotional challenges.

“You need to be positive going through treatment, but it’s okay to let yourself feel. I had it in my head that I needed to be positive; I wouldn’t let myself feel sad. If I could have told myself anything a year ago, even before a year ago, at the beginning of this process, I would have told myself to feel emotions.”

Months of treatments and a year of personal growth have shown Alexandra that her breast cancer and recovery experience at Southcoast Health has imprinted her. Now she feels prepared her for her next adventure, even amid a pandemic.

“Deciding to pack up and move, especially now, I was a little apprehensive at first, but then I realized that I have already been through what I hope is the worst part of my life. And, if I can get through that, then I will be fine.” With a smile on her face, Alexandra concluded, “At the end of the day, I believe everything is going to work out. It always does.”

To learn more about our Breast Center specialists and surgeons, please visit www.southcoast.org/services/breast-center/ or call 855-749-3349.