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The Most Important Lessons From Breast Cancer


Updated March 05, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Ave Maria: Being a survivor is a gift
Ave Maria Perkins

Ave Maria Perkins

Photo © Bill Kay

Ave Maria's Lesson: Being a survivor is a gift - providing support is a way to give back.

Age at diagnosis: 62
Type of breast cancer: Invasive ductal carcinoma
Lymph Node Status: One node only
Tumor Description: T1 N1 M0
Surgery: Lumpectomy
Treatments: Chemotherapy, radiation
Time in Remission: 2 years

Friends and Family Are Precious

The best things I learned by going through breast cancer is that one can never have enough friends and that family is precious. My friends and family helped me through my treatments of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I live in Florida, far removed from my treasured circle of friends, yet through cards, flowers, and e-mails there was a constant flow of love and support sent my way. I created a collage of all the well-wishes and expressions of belief in me. Having this on display made me aware that even though I was the one going through it all, I was never alone.

I realized who my true friends were. My family accepted me and my hairless body as well, without pity or sadness, as far as I could see.

My husband had already lost a wife to breast cancer, yet he was my strongest supporter. He had already gone down that road and he cherished me everyday - even those days that were my toughest.

My Life Lesson
I have learned that being a survivor is a gift along with an obligation to make someone else's journey a little easier by returning all the love and support that was given to me.

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