"Don't spend time worrying about how you are going to die. Worry about how you are going to live today"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Breast Cancer Mentors

This week I had the chance to speak with two breast cancer survivors which was helpful.  It's amazing to me to speak to these two amazing women and hear their stories and how they dealt with their cancer journey.

The first survivor I spoke with was Kathy.  She introduced herself to me in the cancer center when I was there to meet the surgeon and she just urged me to call her and talk.  She wanted me to know there was hope and life after breast cancer.  I talked with her and then she invited me to lunch at her home earlier this week.  She seems so upbeat, happy and positive.....I keep thinking "will I ever get there"?  Right now this has been difficult for me and I am having a hard time being positive about all of this.  Through speaking with her, I did see hope.  She has handled this so well and is really enjoying life.  She had bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction just as I plan to do.  She told me the surgery wasn't that bad and she felt way better than she thought she would.  She was open to any questions I had and was so honest about her feelings.  I really felt good after meeting with her.  I only wish that some of her optimism would rub off on me!

The other woman I spoke with is a former patient of my plastic surgeon.  I called her to ask some questions about the reconstruction process and results.  She was completely open and such a warm, caring woman.  She is only a few years older than me and has three kids.  She has been diagnosed with breast cancer three times in the past 7 years!  I was stunned to hear how happy, energetic and positive she sounded.  It seems like if anything would get you down, it would be having breast cancer three times.  She talked to me about reconstruction and the whole chemo process. She told me how she just went bald and was fine with it and didn't care what anyone else thought.  I listened in amazement at how her attitude was so incredible considering all she had been through.  I kind of felt guilty feeling bad about my own situation. 

I feel like after I talk to a survivor it has an amazing impact on me.  I see hope and happiness in them and think it's possible for me too.  Life goes on for them and they are living it.  Right now I just can't see all of that as I am at the base of a very large breast cancer mountain.  I guess I just have to climb that mountain step by step to join these wonderful ladies on the other side.  Right now it seems overwhelming and and like it will never happen, but it's because I am just starting my journey.  With each step I hope to gain faith, maintain hope and be a little closer to happiness and joy.  Being in the middle of this is probably the hardest part.  It consumes your mind, spirit and soul.  I guess it only does if you let it.  I know I need to push the breast cancer aside at times and just live even though I am in the middle of it.  Down deep I know that, but it's still hard. 

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