Breast Cancer Survivor: Claire Scioneaux

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011

By David Vitrano


RESERVE – For breast cancer survivor Claire Scioneaux of Reserve, the discovery of a mass in her breast was just the beginning of a long journey to diagnosis and treatment.

“For years, my doctor and I were watching a cystic mass,” she said.

She went for exams every four to six months, but all tests run came back negative. Then, in January 2010 that all changed.

“Something made him do a biopsy,” she said. “He still to this day doesn’t know why he did the biopsy. Something just told him to do it. He saved my life.”

Running on nothing more than a hunch, the doctor discovered cancer in two of the five biopsies.

At that point, many questions still remained. What kind of treatment would be suitable? How big was the mass? Had it spread? But Scioneaux tried not to get bogged down in all the details.

“My first reaction was ‘Let’s do what we have to do. Let’s get this out of my body and move on,’” she said.

“I never backed off. I went into it with a positive attitude,” she continued.

In March 2010, Scioneaux underwent a mastectomy and then began chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Although the chemo drugs weakened her legs, Scioneaux said she never missed a beat.

“I did continue to work as much as I could through the chemo. My employer was very understanding,” she said.

She said she also managed to keep up with the busy schedules of her two sons, Harley and Nicholas, and their extracurricular activities.

“Telling my boys was the hardest part of this whole ordeal,” she said.

She said throughout the treatment process, she never missed a sporting event, even if it meant sitting in the car to watch because chemotherapy had left her immune system so weak.

“I actually looked at it as a God-given challenge,” she said. “I was determined to come through.”

Now that she is on the other side, Scioneaux sees herself and the world a little differently.

“I found the strength within me that I didn’t know I had,” she said. “I have a different outlook on life.”

She added, “Strength and faith were the two words I stuck with throughout the whole thing.”

Enjoying the benefit of hindsight, Scioneaux offered some advice for those currently going through the ordeal of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“Don’t be afraid of the unknown. I never wanted to know either, but I reacted so differently than I thought I would,” she said. “Don’t be afraid if something is found. Move forward. Have strength and faith and just fight through it.”