Komen Spotlight: Shelby Cook Anderson
This week’s Komen Spotlight is on Shelby Cook Anderson, a breast cancer survivor turned health advocate. We are inspired by her story and her courage to help women!
Hi, my name is Shelby and I am a wife, a mother and a business owner. I’ve been married to my husband for 27 years this October, our daughter Kennedy is 23 and works as a paralegal in town and our son Holden is 20 and attends Grand Canyon University in Phoenix (we make sure we visit often!) 🙂
Can you share what your life was like pre-diagnosis?
Prior to my diagnosis in March of 2013, I owned a small jewelry company and produced jewelry for several local boutiques in Iowa and across the country. I was planning our daughter’s graduation and preparing for her to go to college.
We were an active family and enjoyed traveling with our son who was very involved in AAU basketball. Living a healthy lifestyle was important, we ate organic and used non-toxic brands of household cleaning products. I thought I was doing all the right things.
What experience did you have that led to your diagnosis?
I was losing weight, but just thought that was due to a very busy life. I had found a lump 9 months prior to my diagnosis, but my ultrasound showed nothing. I was told to come back in 6 months, but due to my busy schedule I put it off and when I went back in March of 2013, that’s when they found it.
What is something about your journey you wish more people knew or could understand?
That no one will ever understand what you have been through, emotionally or physically, unless they have experienced it. It can be very isolating.
How has this diagnosis changed the way you approach life?
That we are responsible for our own bodies and you should ask questions and search out second opinions if you feel like something isn’t right. We have one life on this earth and every second counts, so make the most of it. Live life fully, be present and slow down.
What is something you share with women who are looking to prevent breast cancer?
READ LABELS. Know what you’re putting in your body and what you are putting on your body. So many environmental factors that can potential cause cancer, can be avoided. Avoid processed foods, sugar and eat organic when you can.
Look for safer options for cleaning, like plain old vinegar. It’s a great natural anti-bacterial. Don’t use microwaves and avoid using plastic. Be careful of the personal care products you use. We cover ourselves with so many products everyday. Many contain ingredients that have been linked to cancer or are potential hormone disruptors.
What are some resources in Greater Iowa that have supported you on your journey?
The Iowa Clinic Physical Therapy department, was a great help to me. My therapist, Anna DeWaay, still helps me today. She directed me to the YMCA and The Pink Ribbon program. It’s there that I was introduced to yoga and the healing benefits of it.
If you have a chance, I invite you to look into yoga in your community. POP UP YOGA DSM is free and offers classes around the community. I discovered Above and Beyond Cancer about two years ago. It’s an amazing program, also at the Y, so check it out.
Where can people learn more about you?
You can follow me on Instagram at @Shelby4betterbeauty
Anything else you’d like to share?
Des Moines is an amazing place to live and we have an incredibly supportive community. Just look around and you’ll find help for whatever you need.