Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cancer & Breasts

Somewhere in something I read early on said that you will have several versions of your story.  This is true.  As people ask how you are, your answers really do vary.  I tend to be fairly private so for me telling people about much of anything was hard.  You have your answers for those close to you and you have what I found lovingly referred to as “your Hollywood answer”. 

Be careful how much of yourself you put out there because people do not always respond the way you might think.  Cancer and breast are two words that evoke an array of feelings.  Let’s face it, when you hear the word cancer it is immediate fear associated with death.  Breasts – well with this word most people either blush or giggle.  Put them together and who knows what kind of response you may get. Truly I cannot begin to express the odd comments that I have heard – all with the best intentions.  

Luckily, I had an amazing support system of family and friends who encircled me and shielded me from much of the real world.  For them I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When we found out about my cancer it was really hard to say the words out loud.  I had so many thoughts racing through my mind, and putting them together without falling apart was somewhat of a challenge.  For a short while we didn’t tell anyone.  It was important for us as a family to wrap our heads around what was happening, and that it was real. Once we were ready to tell our families and friends, we found it so hard to answer the same questions and tell the same stories.  My sister knew about a wonderful, free website –, this quickly became my favorite way of communicating.  It was easy to set up and very user friendly.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Knowledge is Power

I want to share all of the wonderful books and websites I was able to come across, either on my own or through others help.

This is the first book I received.  It was a gift from my sister's pilates instructor.  I have to say it was a good place to start.  So many things you don't even think about at the initial shock of hearing you have cancer.

Just Get Me Through This!: A Practical Guide to Coping with Breast Cancer

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Me a blogger?

I have to start out by admitting that I cannot believe I am writing a blog on breast cancer. I am not one who is big on self pity, but the thought of others looking on with pity is, well let’s just say less than desirable to me. I wanted people to see me for who I was, not a tragic young woman faced with breast cancer.

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I read everything I could get my hands on, EXCEPT blogs. I should admit as well that I am the type of person that has to compartmentalize my life. I’m not saying that I don’t recognize areas of my life that overlap, but when I am faced with something that I find stressful or downright overwhelming, I do better to put them into neat little packages and deal with them as I can.

Knowledge is power; I read that in several different places as I researched and hunted, and I can say in the case of cancer, it is. So this became the label for my package. I found I could read and learn if I approached it as though I was researching breast cancer for a project. I was gathering information, meeting with doctors and asking them about what I read, but I was keeping myself out of the equation. When I would wonder onto a blog and read personal stories, I could not keep it from connecting to me and then I was no good to even myself.

As much as you feel like your life has come to a standstill, it really keeps on moving. Just now it’s whizzing past you and you feel as though you are in a strange scene from a movie. You know the one I mean; you are in the center of the screen, complete focus on you, but all the images and people around you are a blur as they come and go. So again for me I could put the lid on my package for a few days and function as a mom and wife.

Here I am 6 months after completing the final part of my treatment and realizing that it’s time to deal with the emotional side of my cancer. I handle emotional stress by staying busy and focusing on someone other than myself. This is where the blog thing comes in. If I can share any of the knowledge I gained with others who are faced with breast cancer and make their burden somehow lighter, then I can heal myself along the way. That may sound a bit selfish, but not really. We have to heal our bodies and our hearts, AND if there is anything I've learned through this experience is, it’s OK to let others help you. 

I am not my cancer, but it has certainly affected who I am today.  I want people to see me for who I am, and now that includes breast cancer.
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