“Sharing my experience makes cancer feel purposeful.”
The second season of the popular Netflix show Get Organised with The Home Edit has only just dropped on Netflix, and Clea Shearer and her business partner and best friend, Joanna Teplin, were just about to start promotions for the show when everything came to a sudden halt.
Yesterday, Clea herself shared a very personal update on Instagram, where she revealed that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer is about to undergo a double mastectomy.
Shearer, 40, who has two young children, Stella, 11, and Sutton, 8, with her husband, photographer John Shearer, says to People she has been in New York City to film a segment for the Today show with Teplin when she found two small lumps in her right breast during a self-exam.
And within a few weeks, she learned she had stage 1 invasive mammary carcinoma, an aggressive form of breast cancer.
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In her deeply personal and moving post, Shearer writes:
“I have breast cancer. It’s a hard thing to say, but it’s easier than keeping it to myself. I’m having a double mastectomy tomorrow (prayers are welcome!), and I wanted to say a few words before I do.
“I found a lump myself the last week of February. I had been trying to make an appt with my OB for several months, and even when I told them I found a lump, they couldn’t accommodate me. I had to request a mammogram from my general doctor, which led to an ultrasound, and then an emergency triple biopsy. I have two tumours, 1 cm each, that are aggressive and fast-moving – but I caught it early. Had I not taken this upon myself, I would be in a completely different situation right now.
“It’s a personal choice to make this public, but sharing my experience makes cancer feel purposeful. If I can convince any of you to self-examine on a regular basis, self-advocate always, and to prioritize your health over your busy schedules – then this will have meant something. It’s also important to note that I was under 40 when these tumours formed, and have no history of breast cancer in my family. Even if cancer feels improbable, it’s still very possible.
“I have to admit, for the first few days I endured the “why me” feelings. But quickly, I started to think “honestly, why NOT me?!” I have all the support, resources, and a platform to help other people through this. So if anyone has to have breast cancer, I’ll gladly let it be me.
“Thank you for being on this journey. I love our community, and you mean more to me than you’ll ever know. xo, Clea”
‘I was just in my hotel room Googling’
Speaking to People about how she discovered her cancer, Shearer says:
“I felt something, a mass, a lump. But I didn’t know what a lump actually even felt like, so I was just in my hotel room Googling, ‘What does a breast tumor feel like?’ ” Shearer reveals.
She had just turned 40, the age at which it’s commonly suggested to get your first mammogram, in February, and had been trying to pencil one in amid her busy promotion schedule.
When she found the lump, she called her OBGYN immediately, but was told the soonest appointment was in May. It was the last week of February.
Feeling anxious, Shearer says she tried her GP then, who, luckily, was able to order her a test within a few days.
“I went in for a mammogram and then it turned into an ultrasound and the ultrasound came back as ‘suspicious and concerning,’ which led to an emergency triple biopsy, that same day,” she recalls. “The radiologist at that point, pretty much confirmed that she would be shocked if this was anything but cancer, but we waited for the pathology to come back from the biopsy.”
Shortly after, she got the news.
“I think I had convinced myself, because of my age and because I don’t have a history of breast cancer in my family, that it was something, but it would not be a cancerous tumor,” she says. “It’s crazy to look in the mirror and tell yourself that right now, as you’re physically standing there, you are a person who has cancer. It’s crazy to say it out loud. It was really scary and really, really, really emotional. At that point, I didn’t know what stage it was. I didn’t know if it had spread. You go into a pretty dark place until you have more information.”
The professional organiser reveals she will undergo a double mastectomy surgery this week, after which it will be determined if she’ll also need to do chemotherapy or other further treatment.