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10/02/2011

On The Road to Breast Cancer Survival

October is always a very challenging month for me.  As many of you may already know, I am a stage 4 breast cancer survivor.  I was diagnosed in July of 2006 and have been in remission since January of 2007.  I feel blessed to still be cancer-free, and am grateful for all the support I have received and continue to receive along the way.  

Things have changed since my initial diagnosis; while treatment is still a big part of my life, breast cancer does not dominate my daily thoughts and activities.  I work hard to stay healthy, and do everything in my power to prevent a recurrence, having adopted the attitude that this is a chronic illness, not a fatal one.

I can't say that I'm at the point where a day goes by when I don't think about cancer - I don't know that I will ever be in that place - however, the thoughts become fewer and more distant as time passes.

That is, until October.

Everywhere you turn, you see pink - the official color of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Don't get me wrong; I am ever so grateful for the support, education, health advancements and closer steps to a cure that all of this awareness brings...in reality, it's helping keep me alive!

The challenge for me is, that while all of these people and organizations are doing double-time to help the cause, it is a constant reminder that I am living with a very aggressive, fatal form of this disease.  I think of myself as a strong person - one who has and will continue to be very active in helping other breast cancer patients and survivors.  During October, there are times when it is difficult for me to stay strong; sometimes I want to hold my own private pity party! That is so not me!

Breast cancer has touched so many people.  If you don't have a friend or family member who is a patient or survivor, I'm sure you know someone who does.  What I'm asking you to do during the month of October is be the best friend or relative you can to that person.  Treat them like you would treat any best friend or favorite sibling, aunt or cousin.  Don't single them out - lift up their spirits. Tell them you love them, just because!

On Sunday morning, October 16th, I will be co-hosting the ABC7 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Montrose Harbor.  I will be there to support all my "breast cancer sisters (and brothers!)" at this wonderful event.  Let's keep that positive spirit alive during the entire month of October - heck, why not the entire year?!

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Comments

it's so great to see people taking action to fight the disease!)

Hello Roz,
Congratulation on being a survivor. I work for the American Cancer Society as a Community Representative for the NWI area. I oversee Relay for Life which is an 18 hour walk for cancer in Indiana. I would like to invite you to come to my relay and speak to our survivors about how you kept up your strength and keeped going through this difficult time of your life. I am a 2 time cancer survivor. When you were going through your cancer I still was going through mine and to hear your story gave me strength. Thanks

Kudos for being one of the breast cancer survivors, and I hope you encourage more women not only to make them aware and educated, but also to encourage them to take action and share the knowledge to others. There are also breast cancer cases in men, and it would be a good idea to include men in your advocacy campaign.

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