Breast Cancer Survivors: Sharing Their Stories In Words and In Video
By Catherine Morgan on October 09, 2009
BlogHer Original Post
This is a post in honor of breast cancer survivors. They are women sharing their stories of hope, struggle, determination, and survival. Some are in words and some are in video.
In October of 2006 I returned to the classroom following a six month leave for breast cancer treatments. My first day back to work presented many obstacles. One, I wasn’t ready to go back. Two, I needed to decide what type of fashion statement I intended to make with my fuzzy bald head. Three, I had to figure out how much I should share with the students about my illness. Four, it was the middle of the second quarter and I didn’t even know my students. Five, I wasn’t ready to go back to work. I’m sorry? Oh, I already listed that? Too bad. Let’s just make I WASN’T READY TO GO BACK TO WORK numbers five through ten.
Nicole from Throws Like a Girl...
My name is Nicole and I’m a hoopy frood who really knows where her towel’s at. I’m also a thirtyish (I’m refusing to use the phrase “thirtysomething”. It’s so 80s. I’m sure it’s copyrighted somewhere anyway.) SAHM and non-practicing musician/teacher who has become a knitting/crocheting fiber addict. I have been married to my wonderful DH for 8 years (yes we got married in 2000 JUST so it was easy to count.) I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in January of 2008 and am now in the middle of reconstruction.
I wore wigs and hats and scarves. And my hair did grow back. Even though at the beginning it was really curly and short, and my husband V. said I looked like George Clooney. I could live with that. I like George Clooney. And having my hair look like George Clooney's hair meant a good hair day. Because ever since I was bald, every day is a good hair day. A great hair day. And I am lucky enough to have had continuously great hair days for the past 13 years. And now whether it's age-inappropriate or not, there's a reason my hair is almost as long as it was 13 years ago. Because someday in the future I am going to sit in a chair in a hair salon and have a stylist cut it off again. Only this time I won't be making a wig for me. I'll be donating my hair to Locks of Love to make a wig for someone else . And I have a feeling that is going to be the best hair day I've ever had.
Ironically, Danny first refused to nurse on my right breast in October 2005-- my first sign of cancer. It's appropriate that I ended my breast cancer treatments nearly three years ago during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It took me only five weeks to realize that something was wrong with my body. The last normal weeks of my life. It took another four weeks for a breast exam, mammogram, ultrasound, surgical appointments, fine needle aspiration and finally, a core needle biopsy, before my diagnosis on December 22. Merry Christmas. Nine weeks. And life is never the same again. Nine. Short. Weeks. And every month since has been Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I found a lump on my left breast on April 11, 2003. I had just turned 35. I wasn’t sure if the lump had to do with my menstrual cycle because it was that time, so I waited a week to get through the cycle and then decided to go and have it checked. I decided to have the biopsy. It was a good thing I did because on May 19, 2003, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember getting off the phone and immediately calling my husband, but he did not answer his cell phone at the time so the next person I called was my mother. I told her I had received the results of the biopsy and then when I started to say that it was cancer, I found myself without a voice. It was hard to breathe. I started crying and finally got the words out. I spoke with my mom for awhile and then called my husband. I found myself in the same situation when I told him—no voice, no breath, bursting into tears. After getting off the phone with him, I remember sitting on the couch, crying, and praying. I took a deep breath and said to God, "Okay, I have this cancer now. What do I need to do with this?" That was the last time I cried for a long time about it.
Caryn Rosenberg - What Breast Cancer Survival Looks Like...
I want to live my life so that I leave a legacy that lives beyond me. I want to make a positive difference and help heal the world. And it’s so strange not knowing whether I’ll live months or years, or decades. It’s like I straddle two worlds – one that is the normal like everyone else and one that requires an urgency to get everything that I want to do in my life before it’s over. There is a difference in how even the breast cancer community interacts with those who have advanced breast cancer. They call it terminal and incurable and sort of write us off. I think many of them are scared. What we want the world to know is that we are still the feisty women we've always been and we are LIVING with breast cancer. Breast Cancer is not glamorous or pretty or PINK, and not everyone has just a 'speedbump' in life. For some of us, it becomes our lives. How do we LIVE with cancer until they find a cure? LET'S FIND A CURE ALREADY!
From Fit Sugar - 10 Celebrities Who Survived Breast Cancer...
In honor of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, FitSugar pays tribute to some of the celebrities who fought their breast cancer in a very public way. We applaud the courage of these women and the efforts they have made in speaking out for the cause.
From BeTwinned - Apparently, My Breast Cancer Is Traveling To The East Coast...
Now that I live in Pennsylvania, I have to find new oncologists, of course. Recently, I spent a stunning amount of time on the phone getting registered with the docs at the University of Pennsylvania. The doctors there in the breast cancer center are named “top docs” in a number of places, and they’re known for their cutting-edge research. I feel confident that I’ll be in good hands.
We are twenty mothers with cancer. Each of us has a different cancer type, stage, and/or prognosis. Each of us has children, from babies to teenagers, and each of them has their own unique reaction to the cancer and the ensuing changes in our lives. We are very different, but we agree on one thing: this experience needs to be talked about, to be brought out of the shadows, and the whole family supported when one member is diagnosed with a serious illness like cancer. Our experience may not be your experience. However, it is experience, and we’re here to share one very important message: you are not alone. We invite you to come along on our journeys, share our stories, and help others who are even more newly diagnosed than you or your family.
Blaire Kessler: Offering Natural Beauty -- "When you are battling cancer, your self-image sometimes takes a hit," says Blaire Kessler, breast cancer survivor and founder of Pristine Beauty, a line of all-natural cosmetics. Hers sure did, especially since she was working in the modeling industry, which relies so much on looks during the time she was diagnosed. "My double mastectomy left scars on my skin and my hair was very dried out and damaged from the treatment I was receiving."
At age 31, breast cancer was the last thing newlywed Molly Fritch thought about. She regularly administered breast self-examinations, but didn’t realize this simple act would save her life. Fritch, professional counselor for the OU Cancer Institute and co-founder of a breast cancer survivor group called SHOUT, was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer after completing graduate school nearly three years ago. “My life changed in seconds and I feel like now it’s my mission to tell women about this,” Fritch told an audience of women Tuesday in the Oklahoma Memorial Union’s Governors Room. “If you feel anything, you need to get it checked out. I stand here today and there is no detectable cancer in my body.”
The following is a personal interview between local breast cancer survivor, Audra Smith-Odum, and Melodie Willis, one of her best friends. Audra: I will never forget the rush of emotions that I experienced after being told that I had a very aggressive form of breast cancer. I was scared, shocked, numb, and in total disbelief of my diagnosis. I looked at my husband, Corky, and my two beautiful children, Harlie and Cole, and made the decision right then that I was going to beat this. There is no way that I will let a lump in my breast take me away from this wonderful family.
From Because I Must Blog - Celebrating My Favorite Breast Cancer Survivor...
As you may well know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I can't urge you enough to CHECK YOURSELF and/or get checked by a physician REGULARLY. But then you already know that right? In celebration of the month and in honor of my favorite breast cancer survivor, my mom, I'm reposting her story.
From RivkA at Coffee and Chemo...
I am a Red-Head (to know one, is to love one), Zionist (last of a dying breed), Idealist (can't help it, I still want to change the world), Enthusiastic People Person (love to meet you!), Mom (my kids are EVERYTHING to me), Wife (married to my best friend), and Cancer Survivor (read on!).
I’m a 30 year old mom of 2 young children, Chance is 3 years old and Sinclaire is 2 years. I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer in April 2009. This blog was started a few days after diagnosis, see my older posts to see how my cancer journey began. I’m married to Ken, 38, who is handling the new cancer diagnosis well, and is being as supportive as he can be. Noone in his family, not even his parents who are still around and in their 60’s have battled cancer, yet here is his 30 year old wife going through it. That has to be confusing and tough for him, I think it hit him harder than it did me actually. But he’s doing great and so am I:)
Laurie from Not Just About Cancer...
I am the mother of two beautiful boys who are a source of endless joy and amusement, as well as being quite different from each other. Great blog fodder. My spouse T. and I have been together for 16 years. I adore him. I am fortunate to have wonderful friends and family and a pretty good life. I am also in remission (but still in treatment) with breast cancer that has spread to my liver. I plan on defying the odds for a long time to come.
Here are some videos from breast cancer survivors...
From Feminist Review - After the Cure: The Untold Stories of Breast Cancer Survivors
Toddler Planet - Inflammatory Breast Cancer
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