Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Had I Known Then What I Know Now

I am a breast cancer survivor and proud of it. Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer—back in March 2008—I never thought I’d wear that title like a war metal. But after one year of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy and radiation followed by a second year of three reconstructive surgeries, I realized battling breast cancer took me to a new place—in a good way.

When I was forced to eliminate all but the bare essentials of my routine just to get through the day, life took on a new perspective. After things finally got back to normal, I realized I didn’t need all that extraneous stuff anyway. At the dawn of my breast cancer journey, I lost sleep over the prospect of having no hair. Once the inevitable no-hair days came to reality, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined. My doctor was right when she said: You’ve been walking this earth for 51 years. So when you look at the big picture, living with no hair for six months isn’t that tragic in the grand scheme of things.

She was so right. I went to a breast cancer support group at the Norma Pfriem Breast Cancer Center in Fairfield, CT and balked when a five-year breast cancer survivor proclaimed getting breast cancer was a blessing. Are you kidding? I didn’t buy that for minute. As far as I was concerned, being nauseous, and seeing me in the mirror with no hair, eyelashes or brows was far from a blessing—it was a nightmare.

Thanks to the support and kindness of others, even the way I looked didn’t matter. What mattered was getting better. And little by little, I did get better. When all was said and done, two years later, I remembered all the fear and anxiety I went through. It occurred to me, if I knew then, what I know now, I wouldn’t have been such nervous wreck. If someone had walked me through each scary step and told me how to handle it, I would have been able to get through those two years with a little more serenity and style. That’s the very reason I created my blog, www.battlingbreastcancerwithclass.com, which is the inspiration for this book.

Thanks to early detection, breast cancer is one of the most treatable of all cancers and has a high survival rate. I would rather not get into statistics—you can find them anywhere. I wrote this book to help other women battle breast cancer with dignity, humor and style. Yes, you’ll lose your hair, you’ll get sick, you may lose your breasts, and your illness will challenge all your relationships. But, you can choose to handle this with a good attitude or a bad attitude. If I were you, I’d choose the good attitude. You will get through this, so why not do it like a lady? Why not inspire your co-workers and friends with your positive outlook in the face of adversity?

That’s what I did, and it’s still paying off on so many levels. You can take your bad fortune and work it to your advantage. Let me show you how……

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