It’s hard — impossible, really — to imagine what women with breast cancer go through on a day-to-day basis. We asked survivors and victims of breast cancer to share with us what they would like other women to know.
“Have your own experience and trust your intuition. A million people will tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing, but you know yourself and your body best — do what you think is right.” — Christina Steinorth-Powell, 10-year breast cancer survivor
“While you may not have chosen to have breast cancer, you can choose how you want to be treated and how you will treat yourself moving forward. This is your wake-up call to take better care of yourself through diet, exercise, stress management and a better attitude and effort toward a healthier lifestyle.” — Melanie Young, five-year breast cancer survivor
“One of the most important — and unimportant things — that happens to women when becoming a breast cancer patient is that we are forced to cope not only with a life threat and the many physical and emotional issues, but also with a major crisis with our femininity, body image and self-esteem.” — Tovi Riegler, two-year breast cancer survivor and co-creator of CureDiva.com. *Unfortunately, Tovi’s cancer just recently came back and metastasized to other parts of her body. We are sending thoughts and prayers her way.
“Don’t let breast cancer take away the motivation to achieve your dreams.” — Diana Cohen, breast cancer survivor
“When you notice that you’re having negative thoughts about how all of this is going to pan out, you need to remind yourself that you are not a very good fortune teller.” — Donna W. Hill, 23-year breast cancer survivor
“When my doctor called to give me the news, I asked, ‘Will it kill me?’ His frighteningly cavalier response of ‘Well, it’s cancer’ sent a chill down my spine and made me realize that I needed to advocate for myself. My first step was to get a new doctor! You have to trust your gut and know that not all doctors are created equal. The only choice I thought I’d have was a single or double mastectomy, so I was pleased and surprised when my doctor said I’d be able to have a lumpectomy followed by targeted radiation, then chemo. It’s important to explore the options.” — Kerry Kenna, six-year breast cancer survivor who has collaborated with the BC5 Project, a group dedicated to broadening awareness of breast cancer treatment options for women
“I want people to think about how I fought it, how I won and how I came out even better on the other end. I want to encourage, inspire and motivate. Encourage women to be aware of their bodies and know what is normal for them. For all those reasons we ladies put off getting a mammogram, not one of them is worth dying for. I want to inspire women who hear my story and are fighting breast cancer to know that there is hope and to fight on. And lastly, to motivate everyone no matter what their situation is and to strive to make each day count by being the best they can be mentally, physically and emotionally. Cancer woke me up to my health, and I feel like I have been given a second chance.” — Lorraine Hutchinson, 2014 Susan G. Komen Honorary Breast Cancer Survivor
“Cancer is such a frightening and emotional roller coaster. It’s a ride we all want to get off! My best advice is, find the ‘glue’ that will hold you together — whether it’s religion, family, friends, music, yoga, a hobby or a cancer support group. Even our pets can be amazing healers. Be patient and don’t give up. Trust me when I say you will come out changed and stronger on the other end of this.” — Brenda Jones, six-year survivor and designer of Hug Wraps
“Fear does its best work in isolation. Courage wears the face of your ability to love and be loved. Breakthrough happens when you discover your self-worth had nothing to do with what you looked like.” — Lynn Jones, four-year breast cancer survivor