Andy Sealy of South Philadelphia is the type of person who would throw a blowout goodbye party for her breasts -- a "ta-ta to her tatas" -- just days before undergoing a double mastectomy. (She allowed the Inquirer to crash the party in March, and the story soon made it into publications from People to Cosmo.)
So, it's perhaps not surprising that she has retained her upbeat outlook in the face of bad news: Her breast cancer, which she learned is stage-four, has metastasized to her bones. Such cancer is treatable but not curable; the median life expectancy for women with metastatic breast cancer is three years.
"I can’t change this. The only thing I can control is my mental state," Sealy said, "so that’s what I’m choosing to control."
Sealy -- who had been weighing freezing her eggs in advance of chemotherapy but ultimately could not come up with the money to do so -- learned she would have to undergo induced menopause at age 37.
That's the first step to fighting the cancer she has, because it is fueled by estrogen. She's on a cocktail of medications that affect her hormones and bone strength, and she will undergo regular bone scans to assess the progress.
Also ahead: reconstructive surgery. Until then, Sealy, who wants to use the opportunity to educate people about metastatic breast cancer and the need for more research, has temporary space-holder implants. (She recorded their being filled and shared it on Snapchat.) "It's taken the sexual aspect of the breast out of it for me," she said. "Maybe when I get an areola and a nipple, I’ll feel that way about them again, but for right now, they’re for educational purposes only."
Sealy's friends have put together a fund-raiser to help defray the costs of medical care and, hopefully, allow her to do some traveling she has always wanted to do. That includes a GoFundMe campaign and a benefit party from 3 to 7 p.m. May 21 at McFadden's at Citizens Bank Park.
Sealy was reluctant to accept the help -- but she's grateful for the friendships it represents.
"I've gotten closer with friends I had lost connection with over my lifetime, and my family -- it's gotten me closer with them, as well," she said. "It’s been a blessing, to be honest with you. It sounds crazy, but for me, I believe this was supposed to be on my path, and there’s got to be even more good to come out of this."