BUCKHANNON – October begins Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a local breast cancer survivor is helping usher in the important month with an event to celebrate her new book and share information on her breast cancer journey.
Shanda Hoover will be offering a talk about her experiences and signing copies of her new book, “The Mountains We Climb” at the Upshur County Public Library on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend this talk and book signing.
Hoover said after finding out she had breast cancer four years ago, a friend of hers from her church reached out to her and spoke with her about her breast cancer experiences.
“I then wanted to speak to other women that had gone through or were going through it as well,” Hoover said. “It gave me hope and reminded me that I wasn’t alone.”
She said following her recovery, she felt the urge to write.
“I wanted to write, whether it was about my cancer journey or about other things that God laid on my heart,” Hoover said. “I would type out my thoughts on Facebook or make blog posts.”
About a year ago, she said she felt compelled to write about her entire journey – thinking maybe her words and stories would give someone else facing the same circumstances the help they needed.
“It wasn’t easy putting the pen to paper, mostly because my photography business keeps me very busy, along with my family life,” Hoover shared. “This summer, I fell and broke my foot – so, I thought it was time for me to write!”
About three months later, Hoover had written her book and had gotten it published and ready to share.
She said her cancer journey began four years ago when she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma which was stage II breast cancer.
“About three or four weeks into the diagnosis, I had scans completed,” she said. “The tumor was very aggressive, and it had grown from 2.6 cm to 3.5 cm. I completed five months of chemotherapy and opted for a double mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.”
Hoover said she now takes medicines to rid her body of any hormones because the hormones were what her tumor was feeding on.
“I receive a monthly injection that goes along with the hormone-blocking medicine, and I will continue these treatments for seven more years,” she added.
While writing “The Mountains We Climb,” Hoover said she hoped the book would fall into the hands of others that are going through cancer, another type of illness or a just a tough time.
“I hope those facing these barriers will find the same hope and inspiration that I needed,” she said. “I want others to know that if they lean completely into God, that He will carry them through.”
Hoover, who started her photography business close to 10 years ago, said running her own business has not always been an easy task.
“I am completely self-taught and run the business on my own,” she said. “It has been tough but very rewarding to work with all ages of life, from three days old to more than 100 years old. But, to give memories to families and couples that they can cherish forever is so heartwarming.”
She said she also likes giving back to her community through her photography by photographing young sports teams in the Buckhannon area.
Hoover and her husband, James, have been married for 17 years and they have two children, Nathan and Catie.
According to www.breastcancer.org, in the United States, about 1 in 8 women (or 12 percent) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes. In fact, in 2019, an estimated 268,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. along with approximately 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
“The Mountains We Climb” is also available in paperback on Amazon for $14.95 and on Kindle for $9.99.