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My Speech Tonight

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

Below is the speech that I gave tonight at my local cancer center. I felt each and everyone of you there with me. I did cry a little, but I made it through!

I apologize in advance for freely stealing thoughts and phrases from all of you. I hope you will forgive, but you were my inspiration. I love you all!

My Personal Journey
I was asked to speak to you all today for two reasons: to describe my personal journey and to provide inspiration. The first is an easy task, but the second is much harder. But I will try my best.

My journey with breast cancer began, as many of your journeys have begun: I found a lump, had a mammogram and then a biopsy.

After the results of the biopsy, I felt like a hurricane hit me. There was an explosion of terms thrown at me, followed by scans, tests, more tests, more scans, etc. Some of the words and phrases I still remember vividly: malignant, large, “spider-like” tumor, lumpectomy wouldn’t be cosmetic, 4 nodes, stage 3. Then a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy.

Finally, a nice, long remission and a chance to catch my breath and just live.

Unfortunately, my story doesn’t end there, because, after the remission, I was diagnosed with bone metastasis and I continue to fight breast cancer today.

OK, I know what you are thinking. Where the heck is the inspiration in that tale? Here is what you might find a bit unusual and, I hope, inspiring. I was initially diagnosed at the ripe old age of 33. As of February this year, it has been 25 years since my initial diagnosis.

I no longer think of myself as a breast cancer survivor; I think of myself as a breast cancer thriver. Although I have had a few periods of illness, I have mostly been very healthy and have continued to work for the past 25 years.

I would like to take a minute here to celebrate my canniversary with Cynthia Hingle, our cancer navigator here. Nurses such as Cynthia are the reason that I am here. 25 years ago, believe it or not, Cynthia administered my chemotherapy in New Orleans. When I was deathly ill after my first chemo, Cynthia counseled me and helped me find the right drug regimen so that I was able to get through my chemotherapy successfully. If you are wondering how two women who look so young could have been together 25 years ago, it is because we were babies then.

Besides thanking Cynthia, I would like to stop a minute and thank everyone at the Cancer Center. I mentioned having had treatment in New Orleans years ago. I remember having to travel back and forth every day across the lake, even when I was feeling awful. What a joy it is to now be able to have all of my treatments in this lovely facility with such a thoroughly professional staff.

When I had to have radiation after the recurrence, which was 3 ½ years ago, I was able to have it right here. My family, many of whom are medical, were worried that I wouldn’t have the same excellent radiation oncologists that I had experienced years ago at Baptist Hospital in New Orleans. I had to laugh and tell them not to worry because they were all over here now.

I would also like to share my personal take on why I have thrived and not just survived. First, of course there is some luck involved with having a responsive tumor and the right therapy that came along at the right time.

But second, equally, if not more important, I have been very, very compliant. I know, I know, I know what you are all going through. I know the side effects that you are suffering. I have been there: the nausea, the vomiting, the low blood counts, the baldness, the weight gain, the aches, the pains. But my mantra has always been that the very worst side effect is cancer. As a wise survivor once said, "I do what I have to do so I can do what I want to do."

Hope has been a word that I never understood well until I fought hard for it 25 years ago. Never underestimate its importance. A change in treatment, a new drug, a new procedure: something may happen at any time to improve your prognosis. I am living proof of this.

Finally, one last thought and I will end. Please, please, please when you are feeling better, don’t forget to pay it forward. Find a way to help someone else with cancer. It can be as simple as giving hope to someone suffering or just giving some practical help with someone who wants to know about a swimming prosthesis. Some of you will lead ACS or Komen walks in the future, some will volunteer here and some, I hope, will make warm fuzzy blankets when I retire from that task.

Please comply, comply, comply with your treatment and then come and see me to tell me how you are not surviving but thriving too!

AngieD's picture
Posts: 504
Joined: Sep 2011

I just knew you would do an excellent job and you certainly did! Very well done. I'm inspired. Congratulations!!

aisling8's picture
Posts: 1618
Joined: Feb 2010

Made me cry. It's a lovely speech delivered by a beautiful woman.


Bella Luna's picture
Bella Luna
Posts: 1579
Joined: Aug 2009

Cynthia...what a most excellent speech you delivered! It was filled with hope and inspiration. I am sure you left the audience moved; especially those who are battling cancer and the many who are, as you so ample put it, thriving!

Yeah for Cynthia on a job Well Done!

fauxma's picture
Posts: 3581
Joined: Dec 2008

Bravo, Cynthia!!! That was an excellent speech, just so, so good.

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

Well done! A beautiful speech!!

Posts: 28
Joined: Jul 2012

Thank you for sharing this with all of us.
I love your story and turning survivorship on its head and replacing it with a much more active and vibrant thriving.

I too am a complier. This has surved me well in the past and continues to work for me in the present.

Thank you again for sharing your speach with the rest of us.


CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

You all are so kind. You will never know how much your love and support mean to me. Big group hug :-)

debi.18's picture
Posts: 850
Joined: Jun 2011

Absolutely Beautiful! Thriver - I love it! I've always loved Chen's motto - I've shared it so many times. Thanks for sharing it with us!!

Hugs, Debi

debi.18's picture
Posts: 850
Joined: Jun 2011

Double post

mamolady's picture
Posts: 796
Joined: May 2011

That was awesome.

Posts: 191
Joined: Jun 2012

Very inspirational! Thanks for sharing it with us.


ladyg's picture
Posts: 1577
Joined: Apr 2010

was wonderful. I am sure it has inspired those who were there to hear it. I know it will inspire all of us here who get to read it.


Pinky68's picture
Posts: 206
Joined: Jul 2012

Want to come speak at our Cancer Center??


lynn1950's picture
Posts: 2574
Joined: Jun 2008

What a wonderful speech from a wise and beautiful woman. xoxoxo Lynn

SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

You gave a lovely talk about your journey with breast cancer. I really like the word "thriver".

We, you and I for this moment in time are thrivers with this disease.

Best to you,


CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

Thanks Doris for the kind words. The word thriver came from this message board as did about half of my ideas. And even the name of my blankets ;-). What can I say? This board is awesome :-)

Posts: 601
Joined: Mar 2004

Congratulations on your speech. We knew you could do it. The words were very heartfelt.


sea60's picture
Posts: 2618
Joined: May 2010

would have been to be there in person! Sharing stories is the most profound way to really touch someone. I love your story and I know you've helped so many along the way. I always love to read all the information you post Cynthia. Thank you for that.

Big hugs,


VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

journey .. and quest for THRIVING. Tear of happiness, hope for your future
and strength I am crying for you. Thank you for being, YOU.

You are my special friend ...

A SPECIAL friend is hard to FIND,
Hard to Lose and impossible to FORGET.
TRUE friends may be separated by DISTANCE,

Adore you ...

Vicki Sam

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