Conquering the Abyss - With Style


October has always been one of my favorite months. As a kid, my annual Halloween candy haul helped pay for the local dentist’s Porsche and the changing leaves painted the world in fabulous fall colors. Seven years ago, that changed with a phone call when I was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer on the fourth day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  
Anyone who has received a similar diagnosis will probably know what I mean. Suddenly, there is only one color: pink. Breast cancer ribbons are everywhere and survivors are coming out of the woodwork like members of a secret society with invitations to enter into the fold. Personally, pink isn’t my color and as for the survivors, well, in the early days of this battle, it’s hard to feel as if you belong. A newly diagnosed woman isn’t anything like those women. They dance, victorious, on the other side of an abyss, while we stagger under quiet disbelief.
But here’s the thing. Some wise person once said, “Life happens. It’s time to pull on your big girl panties and deal with it.”
I did.
Big girl panties in place, I took those first, staggering steps toward survival. Eighteen life-altering months later, I somehow found my way from cancer patient to survivor. My family and friends were there for me as I went through double mastectomies, chemotherapy, radiation, experimental bone cancer treatments and numerous reconstructive surgeries. If friends and family aren’t an option, find a support group. They’re out there. Doctors and hospitals can supply a comprehensive list. Battling this disease requires intense concentration, and a support group props the fighter up when they’re scared or hurt so badly they cry at the loss of hair and when they’re too sick to stand. But the one thing a support group can’t do is fight the battle. That, we have to do on our own. Remaining sane in the midst of insanity is tough, but it’s doable. I’d like to help by listing the top three lifesaving tactics I leaned on throughout my battle.

Read the entire article in the October issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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