When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was truly devastated and taken aback. The thought of having a treatment course that lasted almost a year was hard to imagine. Now that my treatment is almost over, I’m really starting to enjoy the journey. This week will mark the beginning of October, and Breast Cancer awareness month. I already feel like a celebrity, having being honored as a breast-cancer survivor at two events, and being the keynote speaker at one of them.
Roses, medals, free food, and tickets to sporting events, and the month hasn’t even started yet. All of this, and more to come. I am so excited. After dedicating a year of my life fighting this battle called cancer, I definitely think that celebrating survivors is a worthy cause.
I’ve heard lots of inspiring stories from other survivors, made new friends, and created new relationships that I never would have had without this diagnosis. I have met women who are twenty-year survivors, and women who were just diagnosed. I have learned about many more resources for cancer patients, such as free or low cost mammograms, food banks, support groups, children’s services and more. Even though I am a cancer doctor, I didn’t realize that a lot of these programs existed.
I have heard some survivors say that once they finish treatment, they didn’t want to do anything that reminds them of their cancer. They make it a point to stay as far away from survivor activities, and even minimize talking about their diagnosis and treatment. This is a big mistake. I would encourage all breast cancer survivors to participate in as many survivor activities as they can this month. Not only will you be around a group of people who understand what you went through, they may be able to calm some fears that you still have. They will remind you to be the voice of breast health awareness that the women around you need. They will make you laugh hysterically with jokes only you can understand.
Being around so many positive women has made me even more determined to make a difference in my own unique way. I’ve learned how to write and publish books and how to form and organize a new foundation.
This is my first October as a breast cancer survivor. I can’t imagine celebrating my new life only in October. So I have started the Beauty of Cancer Foundation, Inc., which will celebrate life 365 days a year. The foundation is dedicated to helping survivors deal with acute and long term treatment related side effects by hosting seminars and workshops, and it helps them return to a sense of joy and well being by creating fun, unique events and life experiences that they won’t forget. Events will kick off in 2016. Subscribe to this blog to make sure you are in the know.
Make the most of this October and celebrate life!
: Breast cancer has made every day a day to celebrate my new life.