By Diane Grayson
My breast cancer journey is called “four little words.” My journey began with “You have breast cancer.” After my initial diagnosis, follow-up appointments, medical forms filled out and questions to answer, I had to change those four words to “I have breast cancer.”
And at that point it became very personal. Months passed and treatments are now finished and I am finally able to say, “I am a survivor.” Life goes on and it has been eight years.
I encourage women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to reach out to someone so they don’t go through the experience alone. Take someone with you to your doctor appointments and treatments; sometimes you need that second set of ears.
When I heard those four words, “you have breast cancer,” that’s all I heard. That’s where the conversation stopped for me. There are several nonprofit organizations like Cancer Lifeline, Angel Care Breast Cancer Foundation, Susan G. Komen Puget Sound and Reach to Recovery that can give you one-on-one emotional support and so can family members as well. I was very thankful to have had my husband beside me during this time.
My husband’s first wife had breast cancer and passed away due to complications with the disease. It was difficult for him, but he is a strong supporter for me because he had been through it once before. There have been lots of advances in the medical world with breast cancer. He figured this is why the lord brought us together, so he could help me through this new chapter in my life.
I also recommend everyone, survivors in particular, to experience at least one breast cancer race. I have participated in “Race for the Cure” and “Wings of Courage” a couple of times and I cried each time I crossed the finish line. It is a powerful, overwhelming feeling as a survivor to accomplish a goal like a race and to see others, who are clearly going through treatments still, cross the finish line alongside me.
My final message to those battling breast cancer and the loved ones who support them is to stay strong. Never give up. There is always a new day tomorrow. Even though life brings challenges, the sun will rise again.
Diane Grayson lives in Bellevue.