They/them/their: A story of transition and beating cancer
[In this story, "they," "them" and "their" have been used as singular, gender-neutral pronouns in regard to Leo Soell. We made this decision to stay true to Soell's gender-neutral identity.]
As a transgender person, Leo Soell was not a stranger to struggles around health, including a diagnosis of stage 1 breast cancer. From early teenage years, they struggled with mysterious symptoms and ailments that often went unexplained. At the age of 24, Leo suspected they had cancer. In addition to their self-diagnosis, Soell was coming out as transgender and genderqueer.
After months of meeting with different healthcare providers who weren't meeting their needs, Leo connected with Dr. Megan Bird, medical director of Legacy Medical Group-Women's Specialties and co-medical director of Legacy Transgender Services. Bird spent much needed time, reviewing Soell's medical history and seeking the root of her patient’s declining health. Leo's self-diagnosis was confirmed shortly after their visit.
Soell started treatment and met with their team of trans-friendly doctors at Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center. Drs. Alivia Cetas, Megan Bird and Emily Hu worked together to create a tailored approach to treatment and top-surgery for Soell. This provided them the opportunity to finally identify authentically, as well as conquer Cancer.
“Right after that surgery was when I had my haircut revolution,” they said. “I was like ‘You know what? You only live once. I need to start matching some things up with myself.’ And I cut my hair short. That was a huge deal for me.”
When Soell got home, they looked at themselves in the mirror and snapped a photo. “That was the first time I didn’t have gender dysphoria since I was a kid,” they said. “Because between my hair and my top surgery, I could look in the mirror and see myself.”
Now, two years later, Leo is living a happy, healthy and Cancer-free life.
Click here to read part one in the Tualatin Times.
Click here to read part two in the Tualatin Times.
For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Stanford Cone.