National Cancer Survivors Day

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Breast Cancer Survivor Stories

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Travel Is Part of My Recovery Plan

by Bisa Myles

Before I had ever taken my first trip, I knew I loved travel. As an adult, I’ve managed to go on at least one solo trip a year. Less than two months after returning from a three-week-long trip to Thailand and Bali in 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 41.

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The Power of the Journey

by Mary Sand

Seven miles outside of Grand Forks, North Dakota, on I-29 South, is a billboard, advertising a state college, that says “The Power of the Journey.” I noticed it last July on my first visit to the Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve passed by it since then. All I know is those words have made a lasting impact. Whenever I see that billboard, I’m reminded that I’m on a journey; it’s powerful, and it’s going to be long.

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After Cancer,
Discovering the Life I Was Meant to Live

by Amelia Frahm

“You’ll get over it, and one day you’ll wake up in the morning, and cancer won’t be the first thing you think about,” said the woman on the phone.

“Lady, I’m not ever getting over this!” I thought to myself.

Cancer is no longer the first thing that comes to my mind upon waking, but it likes to remind me that it could be.

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Metastasis is a FOUR-LETTER Word

by Patricia Ohanian Lundstrom

You’re a survivor? How long? This question continues to confuse me. I have no idea how to answer it. I usually say something like, “Well, I woke up this morning, so about five hours now.” People think this is a witty thing I say, but, in fact, it’s the closest to the truth I can get.

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Take a Hike

by Patti McCarthy

In September 2012, I was on top of life. My husband and I cel­ebrated 25 years of marriage. Our three kids were in college, all doing well. I was awarded a top honor at my job. I couldn’t have been happier, more successful, or healthier. Then on October 4, I got the call: “Patti, you have invasive breast cancer.”

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My Cancer Transformation

by Jaime Andrews

I was 33 years old when I learned I had breast cancer. Not only did I have cancer – I had aggressive, advanced cancer. This unrelenting dis­ease is diagnosed in the later stages and is referred to as metastatic, a word with Greek origins meaning change. It’s when the tumor spreads to other parts of the body. For me, it spread to my skull, spine, pelvis, and abdomen. It even fractured my ribs.

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A Buddy System for Courage

by Pamela Davis, EdD

When my oncologist suggested chemotherapy, I panicked. My perceived future played like a movie in my mind, fast-forwarding then stopping on scenes of frailty, vomiting, total loss of appetite, and incapacitation. As I began treatments, I still had visions of potential pain even though doctors and breast cancer survivors assured me that the chemo I was being prescribed wasn’t the monster I had imagined. Side effects, they explained, were often minimal, and co-therapies alleviated even severe reactions in most people.

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Embracing the Positive Side of Cancer

by Susan M. Krauss

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. How vividly I remember the nega­tives: the interminable delays in getting in to see a doctor, the waiting for test results, the waiting in doctors’ offices, the waiting to feel better. Then there were the side effects from chemo: mouth sores, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, allergic reactions. And the post-treatment period brought worries about my future: What will my life look like now? Will my can­cer recur? Where might it metastasize?

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