BRG Survivor Series: See how a local woman takes pride in winning her battle against breast cancer
BATON ROUGE - Lauren Richey is a breast cancer survivor. During her battle, her mantra was focus. She says staying focused on the present brought her peace and pushed her through the toughest days.
"When I was fearful of what ifs and what could happen in the future, I chose to focus on the steps I could control to get through on the other side," Richey said.
Lauren is a carrier of the BRCA2 gene, which comes with a 60% greater risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Knowing this may have helped save her life, as she stayed proactive with scans and other preventative measures.
"I was a little bit resentful of having learned that I had this gene and supposedly I was going to, you know, be diagnosed with cancer at some point," Richey said. "But I'm so glad I knew that I had this gene now because that knowledge saved my life."
In November of 2013, Lauren was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. Two weeks before her diagnosis, her twin brother was diagnosed with colon cancer. She says despite this, the siblings were able to comfort each other through their battles.
"We were in the womb together and relied on each other growing up, and then we went through cancer together," Richey said.
Chemotherapy is hard on cancer patients. Lauren said she would often dread the feeling after a day of chemo but felt comforted by the nurses at Baton Rouge General and their ability to help her stay positive during her journey.
"Being based at Baton Rouge General, the nurses in the chemo room were like my sisters," Richey said. "They fussed over me, they made me feel girly and fun and it could be just such a heavy occasion and they know how to lighten it. I mean these people, they just have the best hearts."
Lauren said initially cancer scared her. Even after beating it, the fear of recurrence kept her from celebrating. Now, she has taken pride in her battle and uses it to be the best version of herself.
"Cancer doesn't have to define you in a negative way, but it's great to have it define you in this positive way; it feels like I want to jump up and say I'm free, and it didn't take me down," Richey said. "I thought I would just be lucky to be living, but I'm thriving and that's something that I never thought would happen."
It's been a decade since her diagnosis. Today, she is healthy, happy, and cancer-free.
"My name is Lauren Ritchey. I'm a mother, I'm a daughter, I'm a sister, I'm a friend, and I am a breast cancer survivor."
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