To me, pink is the color that represents a feeling of hope, encouragement and strength. In January of 2013, at the age of 43, I was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. I knew that I was going on the roller coaster ride of a lifetime and it was going to take every ounce of my strength and determination to get through it.
Dazed and confused as to why this was happening, I had a hard time grasping the reality of it. My first meeting with my surgeon felt like I was there in the physical sense, but my mental state was anything but present. I walked out of her office not even knowing what she looked like. It was just too much for me to digest.
I have learned along the way that there have been so many advances for breast cancer, giving people like myself an opportunity to recover and not just survive, but thrive. The whole process takes a lot of commitment and trust in your medical team. Breast cancer doesn’t only affect the sufferer, but our loved ones as well. We can’t forget about their feelings and emotions.
I needed to get myself busy and do whatever it took to get my mind off this so-called thing that was making me so miserable. But how was I going to do that? How can I possibly smile through all of this and not think about it at every moment? It takes time. I have to work at it every day. The most powerful and uplifting feeling is having faith and believing that the Lord is there with you the entire way.
One thing I found very helpful is the support of other women whom have gone through this and know all the emotions and feelings attached. The Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation has the most wonderful group of support. There is a connection and bond that you can’t get anywhere else because you can relate to each other and it is understood. Every emotion, every fear, every discomfort and every tear, no matter what it is, someone there knows how you feel.
Maybe you just need a smile or a reassuring hug. There are many wonderful events and uplifting classes that Gloria Gemma offers to its survivors. I witnessed myself having such laughter and fun through these women whom are here to enjoy life to its fullest. Maybe a little pampering is just what the doctor ordered.
The most important words of advice that I can give to anyone are to take control of your own health. Please get screened regularly for a breast exam. I can tell you that more and more women at a younger age are being diagnosed. It is unbelievable how many of us there are. It becomes almost impossible not to know of someone whom has been affected by this disease. It takes just one person to bring awareness and it can save a life!
Written by Kerry Izzi, Breast Cancer Survivor, on behalf of Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation