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Her Crowning Achievement: thriving during breast cancer

“ S AY W H AT ? ” T H AT W A S PHAEDRA PISTONE’ S

first thought on November 29, 2016, when she heard those four words that every woman dreads: “You have breast cancer.” After all, breast cancer did not run in Phaedra’s family. Understandably, Phaedra fell apart when she heard the news: “Everything went numb, my body and soul sank, all I could do was cry,” she recalls. “Mostly, though, Phaedra remembers being terrified: “Cancer is such a scary word associated with so many unknown things to come!” she explains. Though Phaedra spent hours researching in an attempt to understand what her Stage 1 diagnosis and upcoming lumpectomy meant, she was not at all prepared for the emotional roller coaster that YOUNIQUE BEAUTY

lay ahead. “I may have looked like I was handling it all perfectly on the outside, but inside I was a mess!” she says. At first, Phaedra was hesitant to share her diagnosis and treatment with others, even friends and family. “I felt alone and scared and couldn’t explain to anyone the true feelings I was feeling,” she remembers. But eventually, it was those fears and feelings of isolation that inspired Phaedra to share her “pink

“I am taking this opportunity to turn my pain into my purpose by empowering, encouraging, and educating women about the importance of early detection with mammograms because that’s what saved my life twice.” ribbon journey” with others: “I want other women facing this disease to know that there are so many people ready to support them in this journey,” she says. Though Phaedra went through a “Why me?” phase typical of most cancer patients, she didn’t allow her fear to be stronger than her faith. “I reminded myself that I am a wife, a business owner, a daughter, a sister, a fur-baby mom, and that I am strong!” she says. And then Phaedra put her faith in herself into action and returned to an activity she loved: she entered the Mrs. North Carolina America pageant for the second time

KATHERYN JEANNE PHOTOGRAPHY

(her first time had been about one month prior to her diagnosis): “I felt like going back would be very healing because I had worked so hard to get ME back!” she says of her decision. Her hard work paid off: Phaedra won the North Carolina title and then placed in the top 10 in the national competition. Then, in November of 2018, she competed in the state pageant again, and once again came home with the crown.

Unfortunately, in April of this year Phaedra’s cancer returned and she endured a bilateral mastectomy in May. But she remains undaunted and continues to provide others with HOPE, her platform in the pageant: “I am taking this opportunity to turn my pain into my purpose by empowering, encouraging, and educating women about the importance of early detection with mammograms because that’s what saved my life twice.” w

w OM AN.C OM

L AKE NOR M AN

OCTOBER 2019

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Profile for Lake Norman Woman Magazine

Lake Norman Woman Magazine October 2019  

Lake Norman Woman Magazine October 2019

Lake Norman Woman Magazine October 2019  

Lake Norman Woman Magazine October 2019

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