Have you or someone you love been hit with the diagnosis of breast cancer? Odds are you have. This year, 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. This means that you already know, will know – or will be – a woman with breast cancer….like me.
This is Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer awareness week, or HBOC week as we call it. This week celebrates and honors those who have been affected by the BRCA cancer gene mutation…like me. In honor of this important week we are kicking off a 5 part series: The Thriving Series. This is Part 1. Over the next 5 weeks we will share 5 articles describing my experience becoming a cancer survivor to a cancer THRIVOR. Welcome and enjoy.
When breast cancer strikes, I can tell you that the first instinct is to hope you survive it. But…
Is it possible to do more than survive the diagnosis and treatment?
Can we ask for and experience the ability to thrive in the midst of the trauma?
Can we come out of it better than we went in?
Can we thrive and hold on to that as we enter our post-cancer life?
Or is all of this simply too much to ask?
My breast cancer diagnosis came in August 2013, a month before my 55th birthday. It was the biggest shock to ever hit my life. I know the same is true for many women diagnosed with breast cancer. Hoping to dodge breast cancer feels like playing Russian Roulette – when the diagnosis comes it’s like getting hit with the bullet you’ve been praying to miss.
After the initial shock, I had to ask myself a central question. Do I think that I got hit with this because of random bad luck; was I that one in the eight women to pull the short straw and “win” this booby prize (no pun intended, well, maybe) just because of misfortune… Or, did this happen in my life for a reason? Is there something I’m supposed to do, or learn, or change? IS THERE A MESSAGE IN THIS FOR ME THAT I SHOULD TRY TO HEAR?