By Donna Williams, DrPH
I remember very vividly when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother was in her fifties and me and my siblings were all grown, starting our careers and family. I remember all those emotions; wanting to do something to make it better, but not knowing what to do. And my father seemed nearly paralyzed with fear and a sense of helplessness.
As difficult as that time was, today I am struck by how much more difficult it might have been if my siblings and I had been young and still at home. And my father seemed nearly paralyzed with fear and a sense of helplessness. He was doing his best just to cope with my mother’s medical needs. Who would have tended to just the basics like meals, clean clothes, homework? Not to mention the emotional needs and guidance provided by parents.
As we launch the Gulf States Young Breast Cancer Survivor Network, we at Survive Dat! want you to know that we know that you are not just the sum of your body parts. Wherever you are in your breast cancer journey, we know you also have a life. A life that may or may not include children (now or in the future), may include career or school goals, a life of relationships. And our hope for you is that this diagnosis of breast cancer is just a mere bump in this road life. We are here to support your needs in areas specific to young women surviving breast cancer including fertility, genetic testing, psychosocial support, premature menopause, sexuality, and relationships.
My mother? Well as much as she hates to admit it, she will soon be 80 years old. Ask her about the most beautiful great-grandchild on the planet; she’d love to tell you. What a true testament to our ability to treat and even cure breast cancer!