We all have our own passions. For some, it involves the arts—theatre, film photography, and music, to name a few. Others have discovered a *deep love* for traveling, teaching, or performing. For Sheilla Gagui, it's health and fitness. She's a 39-year-old Pinay triathlete who has been an active triathlon enthusiast since 2015. (ICYDK, triathlons include three main physical activities: swimming, biking, and running.) "I started I think late 2015, and then tuloy tuloy na until the early 2020s, before na mag pandemic," she mentioned.
It was during the height of the lockdown when Sheilla faced a huge challenge in her life. In March 2020, while she was taking a shower, she noticed and felt a lump in her chest area. She recalled, "I got a little bit worried. Sabi ko, 'Parang this is not normal, kasi I'm not breastfeeding naman na, or I didn't just give birth para magkaroon ako ng ganyan.'" When she consulted her OB-GYN, the doctor said, " It looks benign, but have it checked. Do an ultrasound and a biopsy para lang sure."
After some tests, Sheilla received a text message from her doctor and was diagnosed with breast cancer. "Parang my whole world stopped. Everything stopped. I got shocked kasi I was at my fittest," she shared. "I just got back from doing a full Ironman. And a full Ironman consists of a 3.9 km swim, a 180 km bike, and a 42 km full marathon run."
It was definitely a difficult time, but Sheilla stood up strong to fight for her loved ones. "You have to move quick. Hindi ka puwedeng, 'Wait lang, let it sink in first.' Hindi, e. Time is moving and time is of the essence." She got treatments right away, including a mastectomy and eight cycles of chemotherapy. Through it all, she never lost hope and faith. Her family and loved ones have also been an incredible support system. Sheilla finished her treatments in November 2020 and is now in remission. By sharing her story, she wants to inspire other people and remind women how important it is to have checkups regularly (Read: Medical Checkups You Need To Get In Your 20s). Sheilla said, "I want them also to be aware, especially females, ladies, yung mga girls. I want them to be aware on how to have their breasts checked. I want to serve as a reminder for everyone to do it yearly [and] to raise awareness for breast cancer."
Know more about Sheilla's journey by watching the video below.
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