Mother and business owner Pamela Spears has many responsibilities. However, she is also a survivor. She graduated from Troy University with a BA in Business Administration, and not long after, she began selling health insurance, which she did for 14 years. In 2017, Spears was diagnosed with breast cancer, an affliction she had sold insurance to others to cover. Her condition may have gone untreated if not for Spears’ diligence. “When I went to get the mammogram, I was told it was fine; it was nothing. But because I knew cancer ran in my family, I asked my doctor if we could do a biopsy check just to be sure,” Spears said. Thanks to her understanding of her family history and persistence in getting tested, she was able to catch her diagnosis early.
Her story may not have had a happy ending if not for her asserting herself and not settling with doctors telling her it was fine. “This is how people wake up with Stage Three and Four cancer—because someone has said, ‘oh, it’s nothing, it’s okay.’ So I advocate for women and advise them to always advocate for [themselves]; ask for a second opinion.” Her family history played a role in her diagnosis, but she believes that stress instigated the decline in her health. “I do know that stress played a big part in my breast cancer. I didn’t smoke, and I wasn’t on the pill… my doctor said stress causes cancer, so I’m a big proponent of self-care.”
Spears has a lot of tips for people struggling to take proper care of themselves. One of the most important ways to manage one’s health is to allow themselves to have mental health days. “I think everybody should have at least one day a week of self-care, even if it’s just Sunday where you maybe go to church, binge watch movies you missed, and just relax. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or expensive. Just do something that makes you happy.” No matter what industry or sector people work in, they need to allow themselves to take a break from work and recharge.
Recently, Spears has become an agent for PlanNet Marketing/Intelletravel, which has given her the chance to experience a lot of what life has to offer while still paying the bills. As a licensed travel agent, she now has the power not only to see new, exotic locations but to recommend them to others, as well. “I also think it’s important to visit places—then you know where to send the people who want to book with you.” She now travels the globe seeking people with which she can share her knowledge and experiences.
The most important thing Spears wants people to know is the importance of self-advocating, just as she did when chasing down her cancer diagnosis. “Be your own advocate, whether it’s [physical] health, mental health, life issues, or even for your job; nobody knows you better than you. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a second opinion; it doesn’t hurt to ask questions. Advocate for yourself in every aspect of your life.” With her new lease on life, Spears has wrest back control of her destiny and is now doing the things that make her happy. With any luck, her message will spread and resonate with the people who need it the most because everyone deserves to make their health a priority.
Pamela can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org