Being diagnosed with breast cancer is super-scary. I still remember how I felt when I heard the news that I had cancer. It was as if I was punched in the stomach. On one hand, I could not even believe it, and I felt like it wasn’t really happening. But on the other hand, I could hardly breathe, my heart rate shot up, and my whole body went into stress mode. It was happening, alright.
I was diagnosed with HER2/neu positive breast cancer in 2006, at the age of 37. It was news to me that there are different types of breast cancer, and that each different type has a different suite of treatments associated with it. I soon found out that HER2/neu is a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, and that it tends to strike younger patients such as myself.
It wasn’t long before I realized that I needed to find other women who could help me get through this. I joined a support group at the hospital, but they only met twice a month, and I knew I was going to need a lot more support than that. So I turned to an online community comprised of women in various stages of diagnosis and treatment. They were able to point me to many resources, they knew what questions to tell me to ask, they were able to advise and empathize, and most importantly, they really, really understood what I was going through. There are many helpful people out there, and I am grateful to every person who helped me along my treatment path because they each played an important role in my recovery, but it was the women who had been through it before, or who were going through it with me at the time, that were an amazing source of comfort and strength.
You can read more about my story and link to other survivor stories HERE.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, one of the first things you need to do is get yourself connected with women who can help. The best place to do that is a support forum run by the No Surrender Breast Cancer Foundation. The women there can truly help you and provide you with vital information, as well as understanding and support. There is also an associated website that provides crucial information on treatments and practical tips for getting through, emotionally as well as physically.
Follow these links to get through your breast cancer:
I am sharing the pictures below to help illustrate that life is not over after diagnosis! You are still you, and even though the cancer may become a big part of your life while in treatment, chance are you will still be able to enjoy activities and friends and family much of the time!
I also invite you to reach out directly to me if you wish, by emailing me at kristin(at)dizzybusyandhungry(dot)com.
I am happy to help in any way I can. I have been through surgery, 6 months of chemo, 2 months of radiation, 1 year of herceptin treatments and ongoing anti-estrogen medication, and I am happy to share any of my experiences that might be helpful.
What I really want you to understand, though, is this... I am not especially brave, or strong, or resilient. I am a typical daughter, sister, aunt, friend, wife, and mother. So if I can get through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, you can too! Hopefully you have a good support system in place to help you through, but whether you do or not, please visit the No Surrender Breast Cancer Foundation site for information and women who really understand. You will be glad that you did!