Prior to receiving a breast cancer diagnosis, I was healthy without any significant medical or surgical history. Receiving a cancer diagnosis just knocks you off your feet and everything you were looking forward to comes to a screeching halt. As a nurse and person who does a great deal of caregiving, now my role was completely reversed. How does one cope with feeling betrayed by a once healthy body that now requires chemotherapy, surgery, radiation? One day at a time.
I realized that this was also my family’s diagnosis and they were trying to cope with this shock as well. Through the treatments and surgeries, I received so much support from co-workers, family and friends. It was amazing to experience the outpouring of kindness that everyone provided not only for myself, but also my family. During those challenging days of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, I met other women who had completed similar journeys. They are one of my invisible bolsters of support because they have survived and continue to live toward their future. I continue to work at accepting my new baseline of health and there are days when a little ghost enters my mind with: “Will this cancer come back”? It may, or it may not. Right now, I focus on my time with family, friends, and doing activities that I enjoy. I still plan for the future because I still have one.
I am humbly amazed at the number of breast cancer survivors and am disheartened by the number of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, young and old. I want to give back and work with an organization that supports research and provides survivors with the gift of time.
Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate on who is diagnosed. The more involvement we can recruit from community members, the sooner breast cancer can be snuffed out.
During treatment, I was aware of the 24 hour/7 days a week resource line the American Cancer Society provides that would direct me to any needed services or support. I have also had the opportunity to visit the Hope Lodge in Boston that is sponsored by the American Cancer Society. It is an amazing community housing facility, provided free of charge, for patients and caregivers while they are going through treatments in Boston. As a cancer survivor, I readily share the American Cancer Society resources with anyone experiencing a personal or family diagnosis of cancer.
As a proud volunteer for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of New Hampshire, I invite you to join me on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Memorial Field in Concord.