A positive attitude has worked wonders for cancer warrior and busy mom Michaela Strahan
Published Apr 26, 2022
TV host Michaela Strachan, 56, chooses to handle life after breast cancer her own way, which is to move on from it.
Though the wildlife expert admits that it has “strengthened” her and she serves as an advocate for other women, she really wants to put her own experience behind her.
“Often, I forget I’ve had breast cancer,” the travel host admitted. “I had a double mastectomy and have slightly funny-looking boobs but, other than that, that’s it. I was incredibly lucky.”
As far as stressing over a potential recurrence? She says she simply doesn’t.
“I don’t worry about that for myself because what’s the point?’ she said. “What I understand is that the chances of mine coming back are as likely as someone that’s never had it.”
Just because this is Strachan’s philosophy on the serious health matter doesn’t mean that millions of other breast cancer survivors don’t reserve the right to get a little paranoid at times. After all, their bodies have been through a lot. It can often to be referred to as post-traumatic stress.
While the chance of recurrence varies based on the biology of the tumor, the stage it was when diagnosed and the treatment received, according to the Susan G. Komen organization, “Most people diagnosed with breast cancer will never have a recurrence.”
“Once a patient has finished his or her active therapy for breast cancer, we will often refer to that time as breast cancer survivorship,” says Dr. Erica Mayer, a breast cancer medical oncologist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, tells SurvivorNet.
“This is a time when patients are still being actively monitored by their treatment team,” Dr. Mayer continues, “not only to ensure that they remain healthy and cancer-free in the years ahead, but also making sure that they have recovered from any side effects of their initial treatment.”
Doctors like to “keep tabs” so to speak and make sure their patients are pursuing healthy behaviors, such as proper exercise, eating a healthy diet, and keeping up with any necessary medical care.
Strachan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 after a routine mammogram, and underwent a double mastectomy, which is the removal of both breasts during surgery. Although she had reconstructive surgery in 2015, they are admittedly not perfect looking, but she has since embraced her breasts.
“There are a number of factors to weigh when considering a mastectomy, chief among them is whether breast-conserving surgery (or lumpectomy) is possible,” Dr. Ann Patridge from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute tells SurvivorNet. “Your doctor will look at the size and features of your tumor—as well as your family history—in order to make a recommendation.”
Once Strachan felt ready enough, she started getting involved with advocacy work, and became an ambassador for Breast Cancer Now to provide hope and strength to newly-diagnosed warriors.
“I was lucky and was diagnosed early but not everyone is so fortunate,” she shared on the organization’s site. Now that Strachan feels she can put most of her emotions behind her and be “strong enough” to deal with other people’s feelings on top of her own, she feels compelled to do her part and help raise awareness.
When she’s not working and taking time for herself, Strachan lives in South Africa with her son, which she says keeps her “grounded.” The nature-lover moved to Cape Town in 2002.
Sometimes breast cancer survivors feel the need to change their surroundings, incorporate a slower lifestyle, and introduce more “me time” to their lives, and all of those things can work wonders on your stress and health in general. It’s all about that balance.