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

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Connecting With Breast Cancer Survivors

One of the benefits of moving to the Chicago area was that there is an active group of breast cancer survivors that correspond and get together.   I met these women through a breast cancer chat board.  It is nice to be able to talk to other women that can relate to the whole breast cancer experience.

Last night 12 of us got together for dinner.  It was so much fun!  Even though we discussed breast cancer, we found humor in our stories and managed to laugh quite a bit.  As I met these eleven amazing women, listened to their stories and looked in their faces, I saw confidence, happiness, faith, strength and hope.  It was really quite amazing.  The positive energy in the group was contagious. 

I am only 10 months out from my diagnosis so this all still seems surreal to me.  Seeing other women many more years out from their diagnosis was powerful.  When one gal announced she is a 5 year survival of Stage 3, triple negative breast cancer (a more aggressive type of breast cancer usually with a worse prognosis), it sent chills down my spine.  That is a huge accomplishment....simply amazing!  I gain such incredible strength from hearing that. 

I guess after going to this dinner and meeting each of these wonderful women, I have gained hope and have renewed my faith that somehow this can be OK and life will go on.  I hope in time I can inspire someone else when I am further out from my diagnosis and show them that life can be good after breast cancer. 

When I think about what I have gotten from breast cancer, it is easy to say fear, sadness, anger and all the negative emotions.  As I try to reflect and see the good things that have come from this situation, I can see those too.  I have met so many amazing, incredible women that have forever touched my life in so many powerful ways.  I have made positive life changes by giving up a stressful career and becoming more focused on what really matters.  My family has become closer and we spend more quality time together.  I also have become the type of person to tell those I care about a lot exactly how I feel about them.  I never end a phone call with a dear friend or family member without telling them that  I love them.  These are things that some people may never experience in their lifetime.  I am fortunate.

I guess as I continue to walk forward, I have a choice in which path to take. There is a fork in the road every day.  I can either walk on the positive path or the negative path.  These amazing ladies have helped me continue to choose the positive path.  That is a blessing for sure.

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