I am new to this group...

Christmas Girl
Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hello to one and all. I am Susan, born on Christmas Day (hence, "Christmas Girl"). Joined this group just a few days ago. I've done some reading, posted just a few messages. Kinda figured out that it might be nice, polite & courteous to introduce myself to everyone instead of continuing to reply & respond, here & there.

Already, I am thrilled to be here. So many wonderful & amazing folks you are, with big hearts & open souls... Willing to share, help, support & encourage each other. I hope you will welcome me! And - I sincerely hope to share, help, support & encourage you in any way I possibly can. Truly, I'm here primarily to "give back"/my reason for signing up; but, already, have gained much. And am thankful. I'm impressed with all of you. Admire your strength & courage, your fighting spirit.

A bit of my backstory: last month/in March, I hit my 5 year anniversary of completion of all invasive treatment for breast cancer. Lumpectomy w/sentinel nodes removal (4 of 7 from the right breast & 3 of 8 from the underarm = positive), intense (high dose/"compressed") chemothereapy & 35 radiation treatments. Then, 2 years of Tamoxifen. Switched to Arimidex, 3+ years now & counting. Come late August, I'll hit my 6 year anniversary for diagnosis (I was 45 years old at the time). I now feel like a "long term" survivor.

I've spent the last 5 years healing & recovering from treatment, trying desperately to get my life back. It's taken me about that long to realize, and finally accept, that we don't actually get our "old" life back. If we're lucky, we get A life. And, it's quite different (at least for most of us, I think). Personally, I'm now done mourning for my prior life, my "old" self. I'll take what I've got, and do my darned best to work with it & be grateful for it. (Most of the time, am pretty successful at that.) We don't ask for breast cancer, we don't choose to travel this journey. Not one of us "booked" this trip. But once upon it, there is simply no turning back. And we never leave the road. There is only one way to travel it, and that is forward. No going backwards, no u-turns. As my oncologist often reminds me: "It's better than the alternative." Am so very, very glad to have your company - one and all - as traveling companions!

Lastly, am a huge supporter & believer in the American Cancer Society. Have participated in their "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" awareness & fund-raising walk for the past 5 years (this year - 2009 - will be walk #6). Each year, I and my small "team" of family & friends walk under a different team name either in honor or memory of someone special to us touched by cancer. I intend to do this for as long as I'm physically able.

Thanks for spending your time reading my introduction. I'll continue to click on various subjects, read the messages, and post a response whenever I feel comfortable enough to do so. And every once in a while, I'll check back here with eager anticipation, hoping I'll find a reply (of ANY sort!). I don't "do" Facebook or any of that - THIS is my very first attempt at an online networking site. So, I don't really understand the "friend" thing! (Am somewhat embarrassed to admit that.) You'll have to explain that to me at some point, I guess!

Sending out to all of you my heartfelt hopes & prayers for cancer-free/NED (no evidence of disease) good health, and...

With kindest regards, Susan
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Comments

  • jakeca
    jakeca Member Posts: 92
    Hello
    It's nice to hear from someone who is truly a survivor--has some cancer free miles under her belt! I'm looking forward to being one too in a few years.

    I don't do facebook either. This is my only online connection with strangers and I don't care to reveal any personal info, other than my experience with cancer. It has helped me a lot to read other's experiences and to share some of my own. Hope you'll enjoy your time here.
  • phoenixrising
    phoenixrising Member Posts: 1,508
    A big welcome and
    A big welcome and congratulations to you Susan. I can only imagine how great it must be to be 5 1/2 yrs clean of this beast. I'm only 2yrs since last chemo and still struggling with the hormone therapy. Those of us who are still newbies in this cancer journey look forward to hearing from long term survivors to let us know what's up ahead. I've looked at other sites but I feel the closest to the ones here.
    love
    jan
  • CR1954
    CR1954 Member Posts: 1,390 Member
    Hello........
    Hello Susan and welcome. So nice to hear from you, as you have been there, done that, and gotten on with it.
    I've been inspired.
    Am in the process of trying to adapt to my "new" old life. I hope I'm as successful as you have been.

    Best wishes,
    CR
  • zahalene
    zahalene Member Posts: 670
    Welcome Susan!
    I doubt if you realize what a major step you have taken in your journey by striding into your 'new normal' (that's how we refer to our life after cancer) with a determination to help others and give back. It is a major part of the healing process to shift our focus from our own personal concerns over to the needs of others.
    I am a 22+ year survivor of breast cancer and I reluctantly admit that I did not make the transition as quickly as some do. But for most of us there comes the realization that there IS live after cancer and it can be GOOD. And it is up to each of us to find ways to make it so.
    I hope you will come here often because there will be ladies and men asking questions and seeking advice and comfort and your experience and support will be very valuable to them. And don't forget as well that we are here to support YOU. We all still have our 'down days' and there is no shame in leaning on our sisters and brothers even if we are long-term survivors. I still do even after all these years. Couldn't make it without my csn family some days.
    So, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a honey bun, and let's get on with LIFE. God bless.
  • outdoorgirl
    outdoorgirl Member Posts: 1,565
    zahalene said:

    Welcome Susan!
    I doubt if you realize what a major step you have taken in your journey by striding into your 'new normal' (that's how we refer to our life after cancer) with a determination to help others and give back. It is a major part of the healing process to shift our focus from our own personal concerns over to the needs of others.
    I am a 22+ year survivor of breast cancer and I reluctantly admit that I did not make the transition as quickly as some do. But for most of us there comes the realization that there IS live after cancer and it can be GOOD. And it is up to each of us to find ways to make it so.
    I hope you will come here often because there will be ladies and men asking questions and seeking advice and comfort and your experience and support will be very valuable to them. And don't forget as well that we are here to support YOU. We all still have our 'down days' and there is no shame in leaning on our sisters and brothers even if we are long-term survivors. I still do even after all these years. Couldn't make it without my csn family some days.
    So, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a honey bun, and let's get on with LIFE. God bless.

    I say welcome too!
    Susan,
    Welcome!Yes,this site is a Godsend.I like the fact that you can write your feelings here and no one is judgemental.It's invaluable for survivors newly diagnosed to survivors like you who have been around the block a few times!
  • Moopy23
    Moopy23 Member Posts: 1,751 Member
    Welcome, Susan
    Hi, Susan, I am so glad you found us. Your outlook on post-cancer life is inspiring. I welcome you also and look forward to your posts.

    By the way, I love the photo--what a sweet-looking pup.

    Moopy
  • Derbygirl
    Derbygirl Member Posts: 198
    Your upbeat attitude is
    Your upbeat attitude is wonderful and you inspire me to forge ahead. I've been on this journey for one year now and currently taking Arimidex. I try to remember each day that I'm doing what I can to prevent recurrence even though it's difficult sometimes with mild side effects. Glad you joined the group!
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    jakeca said:

    Hello
    It's nice to hear from someone who is truly a survivor--has some cancer free miles under her belt! I'm looking forward to being one too in a few years.

    I don't do facebook either. This is my only online connection with strangers and I don't care to reveal any personal info, other than my experience with cancer. It has helped me a lot to read other's experiences and to share some of my own. Hope you'll enjoy your time here.

    Thank you, jakeca!
    Thank you, so much! I'm looking forward, too, to that day when you will also be a "long-term" survivor!

    Yes, I'm already enjoying my time here.

    Kind regards, Susan
  • GreeneyedGirl
    GreeneyedGirl Member Posts: 1,077
    Derbygirl said:

    Your upbeat attitude is
    Your upbeat attitude is wonderful and you inspire me to forge ahead. I've been on this journey for one year now and currently taking Arimidex. I try to remember each day that I'm doing what I can to prevent recurrence even though it's difficult sometimes with mild side effects. Glad you joined the group!

    Welcome
    You have encouraged me today susan with your words of "life wisdoms" which we lay hold of on the journey. Yes, only looking forward and focusing on what is yet to unfold. Life is still very full despite the squeeze of cancer.
    Melanie
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member

    A big welcome and
    A big welcome and congratulations to you Susan. I can only imagine how great it must be to be 5 1/2 yrs clean of this beast. I'm only 2yrs since last chemo and still struggling with the hormone therapy. Those of us who are still newbies in this cancer journey look forward to hearing from long term survivors to let us know what's up ahead. I've looked at other sites but I feel the closest to the ones here.
    love
    jan

    Thank you, Jan!
    Thank you, so much! Congratulations! to you, Jan, for your 2 years since last chemo. I, too, struggle daily with Arimidex. Has taken me a long time to give in & simply accept the side effects, and get on with it. My life is far from perfect - I also struggle with down days, of body/mind/spirit. I've learned to allow myself that, here & there; and then, shake it off. Sometimes it's easier than others. Certainly, I don't have all the answers. And, everybody's different. We each have to find our own way, what works for us as individuals.

    Like you, I did some research regarding other sites; although, my original instinct was that the ACS would be the best place for me. Am so glad to be here.

    Kind regards, Susan

    P.S.: Love your photo!
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    CR1954 said:

    Hello........
    Hello Susan and welcome. So nice to hear from you, as you have been there, done that, and gotten on with it.
    I've been inspired.
    Am in the process of trying to adapt to my "new" old life. I hope I'm as successful as you have been.

    Best wishes,
    CR

    Thank you, CR!
    Thank you, so much! You will get there, in your own way, in your own time. My life is far from perfect. I struggle, too. But, those moments have become fewer & farther apart, with time & acceptance. Not always easy, for sure.

    Kind regards, Susan
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    zahalene said:

    Welcome Susan!
    I doubt if you realize what a major step you have taken in your journey by striding into your 'new normal' (that's how we refer to our life after cancer) with a determination to help others and give back. It is a major part of the healing process to shift our focus from our own personal concerns over to the needs of others.
    I am a 22+ year survivor of breast cancer and I reluctantly admit that I did not make the transition as quickly as some do. But for most of us there comes the realization that there IS live after cancer and it can be GOOD. And it is up to each of us to find ways to make it so.
    I hope you will come here often because there will be ladies and men asking questions and seeking advice and comfort and your experience and support will be very valuable to them. And don't forget as well that we are here to support YOU. We all still have our 'down days' and there is no shame in leaning on our sisters and brothers even if we are long-term survivors. I still do even after all these years. Couldn't make it without my csn family some days.
    So, pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a honey bun, and let's get on with LIFE. God bless.

    Thank you, zahalene!
    Thank you, so much! WOW! 22 years - congratulations! When I was first diagnosed, nothing provided me with more hope than to meet breast cancer survivors. The disease had not touched my life in any way prior to.

    Am so glad to be here! It has taken my 5+ years to finally realize that only those who've actually walked in our shoes, along this journey, can actually understand & relate to where we've been & where we're going. I think I'm guilty of trying to force this on family & friends. Now I have you & all the others in this marvelous group. So, family & friends are off the hook! (They'll be relieved, I'm sure.)

    Kind regards, Susan
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member

    I say welcome too!
    Susan,
    Welcome!Yes,this site is a Godsend.I like the fact that you can write your feelings here and no one is judgemental.It's invaluable for survivors newly diagnosed to survivors like you who have been around the block a few times!

    Thank you, outdoorgirl!
    Thank you, so much!

    I knew the ACS would be the best place for this type of networking. Am so glad to be here!

    Kind regards, Susan
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    Moopy23 said:

    Welcome, Susan
    Hi, Susan, I am so glad you found us. Your outlook on post-cancer life is inspiring. I welcome you also and look forward to your posts.

    By the way, I love the photo--what a sweet-looking pup.

    Moopy

    Thank you, Moopy!
    Thanks, so much! Am so very glad to be here, already! I, too, have been inspired by others.

    I can tell you're a fellow dog lover! That's Abigail, my beloved "once in a lifetime" canine best friend, ever!

    Kind regards, Susan
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    Derbygirl said:

    Your upbeat attitude is
    Your upbeat attitude is wonderful and you inspire me to forge ahead. I've been on this journey for one year now and currently taking Arimidex. I try to remember each day that I'm doing what I can to prevent recurrence even though it's difficult sometimes with mild side effects. Glad you joined the group!

    Thank you, Derbygirl!
    Thanks, so much! Oh, honey - Arimidex for you, too? Can we talk?!?

    3+ years for me now. Not easy, not fun. Yucky! I often tell myself I'm not gonna let a tiny white pill get me down. Not after everything else I've been through. Which was all way worse. Still, I struggle with it, too.

    Am so glad to be here!

    Kind regards, Susan
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member

    Welcome
    You have encouraged me today susan with your words of "life wisdoms" which we lay hold of on the journey. Yes, only looking forward and focusing on what is yet to unfold. Life is still very full despite the squeeze of cancer.
    Melanie

    Thank you, Melanie!
    Thanks, so much! Please believe that I do not have all the answers. I often struggle, too. Who amongst us here doesn't? I'd guess no one. Otherwise, why feel the need to even be here, amongst this group? Yes, cancer takes much from us that simply cannot be retrieved. A difficult fact to eventually accept. Nevertheless, WE ARE ALIVE!

    Kind regards, Susan
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    I must have gone through
    I must have gone through treatment the same time as you. I will be 6 year survivor in Aug. Diagnosed 2003. Time really flies.

    I can explain the friends deal. If you want to private message (PM) someone, it's easier to make them your friend. PMing is sending private email on this site. All you need is their user ID which will be included in a drop-down list if you have made them your friend. To get to the email part, go to Home and towards the right of the screen is where you click on email. I think it is under communication or something like that. To make them your friend just click on the little icon by the user name.

    Hope I didn't confuse you.
  • mimivac
    mimivac Member Posts: 2,143
    Welcome, Susan
    Always happy to see an old pro join us here. I just finished chemo and am taking a short break before starting radiation. It does my heart good to see long-term survivors on this site. We all need the inspiration. Hope to see you around often.

    Mimi
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    Marcia527 said:

    I must have gone through
    I must have gone through treatment the same time as you. I will be 6 year survivor in Aug. Diagnosed 2003. Time really flies.

    I can explain the friends deal. If you want to private message (PM) someone, it's easier to make them your friend. PMing is sending private email on this site. All you need is their user ID which will be included in a drop-down list if you have made them your friend. To get to the email part, go to Home and towards the right of the screen is where you click on email. I think it is under communication or something like that. To make them your friend just click on the little icon by the user name.

    Hope I didn't confuse you.

    Thank you, Marcia527!
    Thanks, so much! Yes, exactly - I was originally diagnosed in August 2003. Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks, too, for the tips on the "friends" thing... Am I confused? Not sure, probably. (Chemo brain?!?!)

    Kind regards, Susan
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    mimivac said:

    Welcome, Susan
    Always happy to see an old pro join us here. I just finished chemo and am taking a short break before starting radiation. It does my heart good to see long-term survivors on this site. We all need the inspiration. Hope to see you around often.

    Mimi

    Thank you, Mimi!
    Thanks, so much! Congratulations for completing your chemo. Not an easy task, at best. But, you did it! You're done! After experiencing chemo, radiation won't seem even half as bad. Hope it goes well for you.

    Kind regards, Susan