During and after a difficult cancer journey, a lot of people like to head home, see their families, and spend extra time with their loved ones. Sandy Yawn, badass captain of a yacht on Bravo’s reality show “Below Deck,” and her incredible opera singer girlfriend Leah are headed home to Denver, and are preparing for Halloween together after Leah’s cancer battle.
Yawn has been yachting for 29 years, and this total feminist powerhouse is one of only a handful of female yacht captains. She herself has been through cancer in the past, as well as a a terrible motorcycle accident, but her perseverance through it all has helped her to become one of the most revered yachters in the industry.Read More
“Back home and feeling the connection to Denver my home, with Leah my love by my side, thinking about costumes and what [sic] will be for Halloween,” Sandy wrote in an Instagram post alongside a photo of the couple taking a selfie in the mirror. “What will you be for Halloween Tag me and @skinbyleah Leah, and whoever wins the best costume contest gets swag from me and special skincare gift from Leah. #captainsandycharity #leahshafermusic #skinbyleah #sandaleah #belowdeckmed #belowdeckmediterranean #denver #halloween #belowdeck #lifeisgood #jsakids #bravotv.”
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Back home and feeling the connection to Denver my home, with Leah my love by my side, thinking about costumes and what will be for Halloween. What will you be for Halloween ?? Tag me and @skinbyleah Leah , and whoever wins the best costume contest gets swag from me and special skincare gift from Leah. #captainsandycharity #leahshafermusic #skinbyleah #sandaleah #belowdeckmed #belowdeckmediterranean #denver #halloween #belowdeck #lifeisgood #jsakids #bravotv
Supporters loved the update, and told the couple how beautiful they are together, “Loooovvvveeee this picture.”
They also commented on the enduring nature of the couple’s love for each other, “Lobsters or penguins because they find their *one* and stay for life!”
Information about lobular carcinoma in situ
We don’t know the exact details of Leah’s diagnosis, but we do know that lobular carcinoma in situ is a type of “stage zero breast cancer,” or breast cancer in the very earliest stage. In order to reduce the fear around this stage of breast cancer, we want to make clear the definition and the debate around this diagnosis.
Stage zero breast cancer can be lobular — confined to the gland that produces breast milk — or ductal — confined to the breast milk duct. But if it is stage zero, the carcinoma can’t get out of the globule or duct. The two most important things to know about this type of cancer are that it doesn’t spread to other parts of the body, and the risk of death is essentially zero.
Dr. Elizabeth Comen, Medical Oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, on stage zero breast cancer and the debate among doctors about treatment.
Some doctors don’t even consider it a cancer, but rather a collection of abnormal cells or a pre-cancer, which is why some women opt for a watch and wait approach. But at major medical centers, standard treatment usually involves a lumpectomy and potentially radiation as well, a more aggressive treatment which does have side effects and potentially long term effects.
In less common cases, doctors will opt for more aggressive surgeries, based on the amount of carcinoma in the breast and other specific risk factors. Doctors may also want to remove the carcinoma if a biopsy reveals any evidence of more invasive carcinoma cells.
Sandy and Leah’s cancer journey
In a recent Instagram post, Sandy wrote to notify her supporters that Leah would be having the treatment and to ask for prayers.
“Today is Leah’s surgery and I’m asking all of you that believe to please pray for her. Thank you from all of me, heart and soul!” she wrote alongside a video slideshow of the two of them enjoying fun times together on the beach, with Leah’s singing voice in the background.
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Today is Leahs’s surgery and I’m asking all of you that believe to please pray for her. Thank you from all of me, heart and soul! This song is Testify to love by @leahshaferofficial #godspeed #leahshafermusic #belowdeckmed #belowdeckmediterranean #belowdeck #bravotv #sandaleah #captainsandy #lifeisgood
Supporters were really happy to be updated, and shared their love for the couple in the comments, “Love the video and song of the two of you. You got this. Is it 12 days until you two are reunited? [prayer hands]”
“We sending our thoughts and prayers, all goes well and for a speedy recovery.”
“Thinking of sweet Leah..I met her very briefly at your event in Chicago…she was genuine and so friendly. This too shall pass..[pray] for an easy recovery and continuing good health!! [hearts]”
Leah’s love of music after cancer
In another recent Instagram post, Sandy included a photo of an ocean, with words scrawled on top of it reading “Character is how you treat others who can do nothing for you,” as well as some photos of leah singing in a studio. In the background, Leah’s voice singing about letting go of the fact that others may not remember the song you are singing, and singing it anyway. The resilience and perseverance in the song seems to have something to do with her recent journey with cancer.
The text alongside the video reads “The message here folks is “do it anyway” @leahshaferofficial #belowdeckmed #captainsandy #sandaleah #sandygram #captainsandycharity #bravotv #lifeisgood #jeep #ducati #doitanyway #rightleah.”
Supporters wrote in the comments about their love of the couple and their post after cancer, “God Bless the both of you [heart] Leah had an amazing voice!! Hope she’s doing well and wishing her a speedy recovery.. Hope to see you next season Sandy.. [heart]”
“Omg, love it… what a powerful and moving voice and message … goosebumps.”
“What a great saying, Sending you positive vibes”
Information about music and cancer
Breast cancer survivor Bianca Muniz spoke with SurvivorNet, and said that music was a huge part of her cancer recovery. Bianca turned to music as an outlet during her experience with cancer, which began when she was just 11 years old. She received an ovarian cancer diagnosis at age 11, and a breast cancer diagnosis at age 22.
Breast cancer survivor Bianca Muniz talks about the impact of music during her cancer recovery
Cancer has affected her art in two different ways: it has acted as both a muse and a deterrent. Bianca says that undergoing a variety of different treatments did have an impact on her voice, but she never let that get in the way of her love of performing. Just like she never let a cancer diagnosis get in the way of what her life is really about – music.