From Cancer to Queen

By Candi Bryan

Any time I get to share my story, I look at it as an opportunity to save another woman’s life.

The fact that I am here to tell my story is a miracle. I am a walking miracle. God gave me a second chance at life. After enduring six months of chemo, three months of radiation, a double mastectomy, six-hour reconstruction surgery and, finally, a hysterectomy, I am still here, and I know I have purpose.

I found the lump in my breast while doing a self-exam at home. This wasn’t the miraculous part: I had spent 30 minutes watching a breast-cancer program I never intended to watch, and that led to my discovery. 

I remember waking up early, before anyone in my house, that Saturday morning in June 2016. I turned on the television, only to find there was nothing on that I wanted to see, so I ended up watching a program on breast cancer. They showed pictures of what breast cancer can look like and how “dimpling” on the breast could be an indicator or cancer. So I decided to do a quick self-exam and as I looked in the mirror I did a double take: I lifted my arm and saw a dimple on my breast. It looked like a cellulite dimple. I felt around the area and knew it was a lump.

On Monday, I scheduled every test I needed that week, from a mammogram to a biopsy. By Friday, my nurse called, and I heard the words, “Candi, it’s cancer.”

From that day forward, I began documenting my journey on social media so I could help another women save her life.

After chemo, I wore a wig for a few weeks, but stopped when I shaved my head. I got stopped throughout the day by women who just had to tell me they were a survivor or they’d lost someone to cancer.

I never knew how many brave warriors I was surrounded by in my office alone. 

The diagnosis changed my life in more ways than one. I began researching day and night, because I wasn’t getting answers from doctors. I switched up my family’s eating habits, incorporating organic foods and eliminating foods with preservatives. I started exercising and limiting stress.

I finally arrived at a place where I truly valued my life enough to take care of me. 

You see, I had hormone-positive breast cancer, stage 3. This wasn’t hereditary. I knew there were some things I could have done differently in my lifetime that would have helped me avoid cancer. At the same time, I felt angry: Why didn’t anyone educate me as a young woman about wellness and breast health?

I knew it was my mission to share my story so other women, young and old, would know the impacts of stress and poor diet.

I am thankful for this journey. I know my daughter’s life will be marked by wellness and self-care because of what I’ve gone through.

I know that by sharing my story, I’ll help a woman get the mammogram she has been putting off.

I know I want to spread hope and let women know self-care and wellness are serious matters. Taking care of our mental and physical being is the only way we can be around long enough to fulfill our life’s purpose.

In June of 2019, I entered the Ms./Mrs. Corporate America competition because I wanted to do something I’d never done before. So I bravely stepped on that stage, and I won. It’s been another pivotal turning point in my life as I’ve utilized the MCA platform to share my journey and the importance of early detection. 

We can only pour out what is in us. This journey has allowed me to finally fill myself up with God’s love and self-love—the two ingredients needed to be able to love anyone else. I encourage you to do the same for yourself.

Mrs. Corporate America 2019 Candi Bryan is a Sales and Project Manager who has spent the last 20 years working in corporate America. Eighteen of those years have been with Sprint telecommunications company, where she has earned several company-wide awards and recognitions. Candi received a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communications from the University of Central Florida and is the host of her own podcast and FaceBook Live show “The Good Morning Show,” which provides daily inspirational interviews. Mrs. Bryan also earned her MBA from the University of Phoenix, where she was awarded the Central Florida Community Involvement Alumni Award for her work in her local community.

She truly has a heart for the community, and her involvement spans from helping the needy through local ministries to serving as a leader for historic organizations such as the Orlando Urban League, where she served as the 1st President of the League’s Young Professionals.

In 2019, Mrs. Bryan launched R.E.N.E.W. Women’s Global Outreach, which stands for Reaching Every Need for Every Woman. RENEW’s focus is helping disadvantaged women year-round. In October, RENEW turns its focus to helping breast cancer survivors. As a breast cancer survivor herself, Mrs. Bryan overcame stage 3 breast cancer in 2017. After her recovery, she co-founded “The Warriors Brunch” with award-winning Orlando, Fla. News anchor Vanessa Echols. The event is a yearly breast cancer survivor outreach. Mrs. Bryan also volunteers for the International Christian Film & Music Festival and is a women’s breast health advocate and speaker.

We want to hear your story. Your story is my story. Help us empower other women by sharing your story.

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