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Life after breast cancer...

Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2001

I just found this site through a friend who lost his wife to breast cancer. I am a breast cancer survivor. But, not having had others to talk to during my treatments who have experienced this, I wonder how others recovered from the chemo part of their treatment. My last treatment was late August and I'm JUST NOW feeling like I'm looking more like my old self and not a "cancer patient." My hair and eyelashes were very slow to grow back in. I gained my strength back fairly quickly, and initiated changes in my diet (both to fight future recurrence AND lose the weight I gained as result of the chemo) & exercise mentality, but my appearance was impacted for months. It is March 01, nearly 7 months since my last chemo treatment, and my hair is still very short (and very curly) and my eyelashes are nearly back to normal length. I just started wearing eye make-up again so my eyes don't look so "naked." I'd like to say this about my experience with breast cancer: I never had any history of it in my family, never even knew anyone who had had it (my only real experience with cancer prior to my diagnosis was the loss of a friend to lung cancer). I was absolutely stunned when the docs said "breast cancer." Prior to that day last May, I would hear statistics on TV and radio about how one in 8 women will develop breast cander - I would think to myself "not me." The week I waited for results of the biopsy, I was in total denial - didn't even tell my husband I had found the lump and was doing the biopsy. I was so sure I would hear the words "benign - nothing." After my diagnosis, I found tremendous support in my husband (and a deeper bond and strengthening of our relationship) and in his sister, Kathy. I kept a daily journal I called "The New Millennium - A Year for Reckoning." Then, just as I was finishing radiation in early November, Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was able to return all the support she had given me and help her in her battle. We now have a special bond we had never had before. You all know - that special bond we all now share as result of our experience with breast cancer. :) I have a new appreciation of life, have quickly learned not to worry about the small things and enjoy what matters most - my family and friends - and a new determination in helping others when I can, improving the quality of my life through taking care of my body. Since my diagnosis, I've lost a co-worker to stomach cancer, experienced a co-worker's loss of her 27-year-old daughter to adult leukemia, and a friend's loss of his wife to breast cancer. I am amazed at how prevalent cancer is - and I participate in Relay for Life and Race for the Cure every chance I get. I have a new determination to live as long as I can and ENJOY my life while I'm here.

mjdp2's picture
Posts: 142
Joined: Nov 2000

It's great the way you have been able to turn your experience into a positive force in your life. We have already started planning for our next Relay in Sept. If you are not already serving on a committee call ACS and let them know your interests. I recruit survivors to walk the opening lap. We also walk in the evening when the luminarias are lit spelling out the words HOPE and PROGRESS on the bleachers. It is an awesome experience. Thanks for joining us here on this site. Blessings, Margaret

Posts: 335
Joined: Aug 2000

Hello bluelady, I just read your post and I must tell you that I agree with what you say. When we stare the prospect of death in the face, our priorities change quickly!!Like you, I would hear the news about breast cancer reports, listen and then just go on with my daily life with no impact at all. A longtime friend had breast cancer and had chemotherapy and I felt bad for her, but still had no idea what it does to the person hearing the news that her own body has been invaded by this beast. I now have so much respect for every woman who has made this journey. The women on this web site will value your input and will encourage you with your worries and fears. Life will never be exactly the same as it was before cancer, but it may be better, knowing now that we are not imortal and valuing every precious day God gives us with our loved ones. Come back and talk to us often. Love to you, Nancy

Posts: 160
Joined: Nov 2000

Hi Bluelady - Welcome to this web site - I am sure you will find it very informational.
I also was detected with breast cancer the same time you were - had a masectomy in May and my last chemo treatment was Aug 29th. I lost all my hair and some of my eyebrows and eyelashes. My hair has grown back now - yes, mine is still short - and my bangs are very short. The back and top is very curly and the sides have no curl at all. Do you have curls on the sides of your hair? I just thank God that I now have hair again - I sure did miss it - and will never complain about it anymore. I do believe that this disease woke us all up to the real life and to appreciate what God has put on this earth for us. I had problems eating when I was having the chemo treatments - nothing tasted good at all to me, but I did eat so that I did not lose a lot of weight and my body get down any more than it was. Now everything is tasting really good to me - which concerns me so that I don't go gaining a lot of weight - especially while taking tamoxifen since that is one of its side effects. I agree I have a new appreciation on life and do not worry about the small things and enjoy the treasures that God has given me. My husband was my real "rock" and helped me through all of this also and this put a stronger bond between us also. God has been so good to me and I thank him for my life each and every day.
God Bless - Lucy

Posts: 130
Joined: Nov 2000

Hi, your story sounds so familiar. You just always think cancer is something that happens to someone else. What a wake-up call we get sometimes. This has definately given me a new appreciation for life, my family & simply the little things in life. My husband has also been wonderful through this all. It has really changed our relationship for the better. He was in a bad wreck about a year & a half ago, just a miracle he is still here. So between the two of us we certainly have a lot to be thankful for. I wish you the best in your life. Judy

Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2001

You need to change your name. You are certainly no blue lady. Isn't life grander!!! I am a 4 year survivor. Though the doctors assure me not everyone looks at it like I do, I would not trade the change it has made in my life. I work to fill each day with fun and laughter, to love more, forgive more, take risks more, travel more, dream more. While in treatment, I made a list of 100 things I wanted to have, do and be. Unbelievable what I have accomplished since then. The do and have things were easy, just had to plan for them. The be things much harder - old habits certainly take work. Each day is bright and I plan to leave here someday with no regrets. I thank God for each precious day. It was so good to hear that in you too.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2003

I am sending this email to you in hope that you will respond as soon as possible. We are currently pursuing high education at Highland school of technology in Gastonia, NC. We have been learning of a button chair that the blue cross and blue shield possess dedicated to breast cancer survivors or losses by family members etc. We are hoping to go bigger. Not just a chair, but a memorial. We are hoping to get some buttons from each and every state. These are buttons off of either the survivor, victim, or patient's clothing. We are going nationwide. We would love to also have letters and/or names to go along with the buttons. If you know of any way to help collect buttons or want to donate one yourself we would deeply appreciate it. Help breast cancer awareness, and help collect buttons.
Brooke Barry, Highland School of Technology

Please send all buttons and letters to :
c/o Debbie Cunningham
or Mrs. Poole
Highland School of Technology
Gastonia, NC 28052

phone: 704-810-8816
fax: 704-866-6105

Email me @: Simplegirl102@aol.com or Reply to this :) Thank you so much!!

Posts: 9
Joined: Jun 2002

I was diagnosed with breast cancer last may. Finished chemo December 31. I feel really good. I wake up every day with a smile on my face. I forget sometimes I had breast cancer. Iam only 47. I plan on being around a long time. Some times I forget the reality of it when you hear that someone lost their life to breast cancer. But I really trust my doctor I was stage 2. I had the best treatment possible, and I am a very healthy woman. Kathybto

Posts: 3
Joined: Mar 2003

I also was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of last year. I had my last chemo treatment on Dec 12, 2002. I am still undergoing radiation treatments. I understand the meaning of a good doctor. My oncologist has really been using an aggressive approach to my treatments due to me being 30 years old. I do wake up every morning - some better than others, with a smile on my face and thankful for another day. I was also at stage 2 with lymph node involement. Wish you all the best.

Posts: 4
Joined: May 2003


You sound in good spirits! I too am a breast cancer survivor and I was Stage IIb. I was diagnosed in December,2000. Had lumpectomy, masectomy, tram-flap reconstruction, six months of chemo, and then on Tamoxifen. Could not tolerate Tamoxifen, so I am devoted to exercize and a nutritious diet.

Just know that you will feel better each and every day and that life will once again be as it was in all but one aspect. You will now be blessed with a new understanding and will be appreciating life, having total compassion, and knowing the real priorities in life. (Oh, and a little fear, but that subsides too.)


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