Sakira Curbeam, age 40, Lost 27 lb*
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose up to two pounds per week.
“I believe God had me go through cancer so that I could help other women cope—to tell them they still have a future.”
In Sakira’s words:
In April 2014, I went to the doctor for a routine checkup. He noticed a lump in my left breast but thought it was just a cyst. When I returned six months later to get it checked, my doctor performed a biopsy on both breasts. He found two tumors on my left breast, which he diagnosed as non-invasive breast cancer. Later that day, a breast health navigator called me—that’s a nurse who helps you through the process, discusses treatment options with you and your doctor, translates insurance information—and that’s when my breast cancer journey began.
Strong from the start
Of course, I was scared when I received the diagnosis, but I am a woman of faith so I tried to stay positive. I had a great support system and I knew, with their help, I could battle whatever was going to come and everything would turn out fine. The doctor told me that chemotherapy wasn’t an option—I’d have to get a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Since I have two children, Jordan, 13, and Lauryn, 9, and my husband and I weren’t planning to have more, I decided to get the mastectomy.
Fighting for family
My family was obviously in shock. My son took it especially hard because he was so close to my mom, who had died of lung cancer in 2010, and he thought I’d have the same outcome; that’s all he knew about cancer. I think my daughter internalized it for a while; she didn’t really react at first, but a few days before my surgery she did have a little breakdown. My husband and I were very open with the kids, discussing with them what was going to happen in the hospital. Of course, I’d have my moments when I was depressed—everyone has their moments—but I wouldn’t let myself stay there long. Knowing I had family to live for made me fight to survive.
I went into the surgery not knowing what to expect, which was pretty scary. For the type of procedure I was having, the doctors removed fat and blood vessels from my abdomen area and replaced them to create a new breast, making the outcome difficult to imagine. Afterward, I was surprisingly very happy with the results. That helped calm many of my worries.
Next steps to healthy
Combating breast cancer and surgery caused me to look at my body differently—I recognized that it truly is my temple, and I needed to take care of it. So following my surgery, I went to a nutritionist to learn more about eating healthy as a cancer survivor. I wanted to get healthy and stay active throughout the year, so I decided to join Weight Watchers OnlinePlus in January. I fell in love with the Connect feature on the WW app immediately. It was so great to have inspiration at my fingertips—there was always someone there to help me with any challenge, whether I needed a recipe idea, an exercise tip, or just encouragement and support.
It feels amazing to know I’ve gotten to where I am right now. I like to reflect—I think about the month I’m in and say to myself, ‘One year ago, this month, I was recovering,’ or ‘One year ago, this month, I was going into my first surgery.’ It is truly a blessing just to have the opportunity to be outside, move, and work on my health. Not all women get that chance. I also like to look back and remember that my life wasn’t on hold—cancer was just a part of my journey.
Living for today
Today, my future looks brighter than ever. I joined a running group called Black Girls Run. My ‘graduation’ was running a 5K, and now I plan to eventually tackle a 10K. I’m also doing cross training and weight training. I’m just not scared anymore. On a recent trip to New York City, I ditched the taxis and walked the streets—visiting all the sites on my own, even at night! I tell myself, ‘Don’t wait. You don’t know what tomorrow holds, so do it today.’