FAMILY: Husband of 15 years, John; daughter, Emma, 6; son, Zac, 3
OCCUPATION: Registered nurse
DIAGNOSED: Dec. 26, 2006
WHAT HELPED: My parents helped with my family, my husband is my rock, and Pam Anderson at University's Breast Health Center is my "fairy godmother." She is a survivor herself and is still a great source of support for me. She has always been able to help me make sense of my fears and worries, with her magic wand, of course.
OUTLOOK: Early after diagnosis (at 36), since there was no real reason I should have had breast cancer, I figured I must have it for a reason. I needed to turn it into a positive. During my own treatment I had a tremendous amount of help with my family. I wanted to help other women who didn't have that support system. Last year, Vera Stewart, of Very Vera, and I founded BeCause -- a program to give a meal to women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Helping other women who are going through what I have been through has helped me make sense of my own diagnosis.
ADVICE: At first, the diagnosis is overwhelming. All I saw was what breast cancer could take away from me. Eventually, after coming through all my treatments, I have realized all breast cancer has given me. I see life through new eyes. I am a better person. I have learned a tremendous amount about myself. It has been a great teacher.
Try not to dwell on the future. It was never promised to us anyway, it was just assumed. Be thankful for every day and be hopeful there will be another. Go ahead and do everything you are tempted to put off until the "right time." There is no better time than the present!
OCTOBER IS BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH