Alexis Schneider glows with hope, positivity and inspiration, savoring every minute with a genuine love for life. Her perspective bloomed after learning that she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the early age of 33, although she had suspicions that she would be affected by cancer at an early age.
“It’s weird. I tell people, in my 20s, that I was worried that I would develop cancer, because I had a strong family history of it. I had an aunt, a grandmother and a cousin all on my mom’s side that had it,” said Schneider. “I remember telling my doctor that I think I’m going to be one to get it young, and she dismissed it and said, ‘We’ll do mammograms at 40,’ because insurance wouldn’t cover anything before then.”
Schneider moved on with her life with little options and no answers. “Then 10 years passed — I had kids and got busy and didn’t really think of it ever. Around the fall in 2013, we moved and were super busy, and I remember feeling this weird, shooting sharp pain in my right breast.”
Schneider grudgingly agreed to see a doctor after a coworker warned her that the pain she was feeling wasn’t normal. The next day, her doctor warned that while the pain in her right breast could be many things, it very well could be breast cancer. She spent most of her December after that appointment in uncertainty, going through mammograms and ultrasounds as medical professionals were determining the cause of the pain.
She was officially diagnosed with breast cancer in early January 2014, not even a year into her new job at that time at an organization now called the Disability Network. The doctors told Schneider that she’d be fine and probably wouldn’t need chemo or radiation because of the early detection.
Ultimately deciding on a mastectomy of both her breasts, Schneider faced her diagnosis head-on; she became cancer-free, although treatments were still necessary. With the help of her friends, family and an understanding employer, Schneider was still able to commit full-time work while dealing with her new findings.
“I tell people, too, that I think that it [work] saved my mentality, because it gave me an outlet to think about something else other than my fear; I was able to help other people while I was going through something that they didn’t know I was experiencing, but I told people that it wasn’t about me. I’m here to help you.” said Schneider.
While life provided its distractions, the toll of both work and her cancer took an exhausting toll on Schneider’s energy. She risked little time to think about herself and grieve over the new medical changes. Once the “scary stuff” was over, Schneider said everything suddenly hit her, and she realized her true calling through those hardships.
“I kind of had an aha! moment and realized God wanted me to go through the muddy waters,” said Schneider. “He wanted me to experience what everyone was going through with cancer, so I could truly connect with them and help them through this hardest time. It was shortly after that I finished treatment and realized I was supposed to have a business.”
Schneider opened Lotus Life Counseling soon after, inspired by the meaning behind the lotus, which means ‘new beginnings’. She’s been open for two years now and helps people with mental health counseling, adjustments to disability, adjustments to chronic health conditions, anxiety and depression.
Schneider uses her business to support those who don’t have the support system she had when she went through her cancer diagnosis. The now cancer-free, mother of three is happy to connect with others, truly finding her calling through her own new beginning.