Young Mother Given Weeks to Live After Beating Breast Cancer Twice

A mother of two is grappling with a terminal diagnosis and the possibility that she may only have weeks to live, even after she beat triple-negative breast cancer twice.

Shonel Bryant, from Daylesford, Australia, was first diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer a couple of years ago at the age of 36. She was sitting on the couch one day when her hand happened to graze a lump in her right breast that felt like a frozen pea. At the time, her children, Smith and Vogue, were only six and four years old.

Because Shonel had a strong family history of cancer, including a stomach cancer that took her mother’s life a decade earlier, doctors were happy to provide her with a mammogram and an ultrasound even though she was younger than 40, which is the typical age women begin getting mammograms. Then she got an ultrasound and a biopsy.

Photo: YouTube/SUPPORT YOUR GIRLS- Shonel Bryant

Sure enough, the results were positive. Although the cancer had not yet spread outside of her breast, the diagnosis was a difficult one: aggressive triple-negative breast cancer. Shonel had always thought that if she ever got cancer, she would fight it with natural remedies and healthy food instead of drugs, but now she changed her mind, preferring to match the cancer’s strength with the power of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation.

Shonel documented the story of her first bout of cancer in a docuseries. Here is the first video, which is about her initial diagnosis, her reaction to it, and how it impacted her family.

Shonel also started an online platform called Support Your Girls to help others who have gone through a similar diagnosis. She encourages men and women of all ages to check their breasts or pecs regularly in order to catch the disease early.

Shonel underwent 10 months of chemotherapy and was declared cancer-free. But the cancer came back, and she would have to fight it again. This last time, the odds don’t appear to be in her favor.

At her third diagnosis, Shonel was told that the cancer had spread to her lungs and was terminal. Her specialist has told her she may only have weeks to live, but it’s impossible to know exactly how long she has left.

Photo: YouTube/SUPPORT YOUR GIRLS- Shonel Bryant

“So that lingering cough I’ve had… turns out it’s terminal cancer in my lungs,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “My triple-negative has metastasised, and it’s only a short matter of time before my lungs fill with fluid. I’ve been told I may only have very little time to live. To say it’s been a whirlwind is an understatement, how does one compute that literally a lingering cough can be so dire. Clear PET Scan only five months ago. But here I find myself.”

Shonel is now facing the impossible task of preparing her family for the possibility that she may soon be gone and, they will have to learn how to live without her.

Photo: YouTube/SUPPORT YOUR GIRLS- Shonel Bryant

In a letter to her children’s teachers, Shonel wrote:

“I wanted to give you an update with us. Yesterday we were told worse news that my death is likely to happen extremely fast and treatment options are super limited and unlikely to help. They have said it’s a matter of weeks now before my lungs completely fill with fluid.

“As you can imagine, it’s been extremely challenging in every imaginable way, but we are putting important things into place, and I’m making plans to keep me active in the childrens’ lives in whatever way I can moving forward. This is the highest priority to me and bringing me amazing peace in this time knowing I’m doing this.

Photo: YouTube/SUPPORT YOUR GIRLS- Shonel Bryant

“We had the painful discussion with the children last night. At this stage, we decided to keep it more simple, focusing on the facts EXCEPT the looming death. They know the cancer is back and it’s in my lungs which is worse, they know I’m going to struggle to breathe and will have machines helping me and people around checking up on me to help me as much as they can. They know that I’m scared and sad at times and others around us are feeling the same way so there will be lots of crying and hugs, lifts to school, different food, etc. Things will be different in many ways. We’ve told them we will keep them updated.

“We have asked if they have any questions that they can always approach us and we’d love to answer them. We also reiterated that it’s important that if they want or need to talk about how they are feeling, they can do so with us but also with their friends/teachers/neighbours/others in their lives they spend time around. Please feel free to ask at the right times, please not if they seem happy and settled.

Photo: YouTube/SUPPORT YOUR GIRLS- Shonel Bryant

“We ended the conversation by telling them that the neighbours have all chipped in and bought them/us a swimming pool, the excitement levels burst beyond any previous feelings they may or may not have felt.

“My feelings are that they know the situation is not good, however, I’ve been ok in the past when I’ve had cancer, so at this stage they aren’t too worried. Of course, it’s likely I’m wrong and no doubt they will be picking up on the sad vibe that’s present.

“With tears in my eyes as I write this, I ask you to hold my children like they are your own, help provide the stability in any way you can in their lives while their home life turns completely upside down. Please observe them closely and gently check in. Hug them. Support their friends to support them too. They will need every ounce of love they can get, cuddles, feminine energy, and a feeling of safety.”

Photo: YouTube/SUPPORT YOUR GIRLS- Shonel Bryant

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account for the family that has already raised more than $220,000 AUD to offset the costs of treatment and allow Shonel to enjoy her remaining time with her family without thinking about money.

“As far as our little family goes, well this is the hardest part,” Shonel wrote to her supporters. “It’s soul-crushing, and I can’t begin to put it into words. The conversations we have had to endure, both crippling yet so necessary.

“The kids, Luke, a future without me. Immense pain but it’s out of my control. So I must let go or suffer. Your support has always meant the world to me. But right now I’ve never needed it more.”

Provide Mammograms

Support those fighting Breast Cancer at The Breast Cancer Site for free!