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Breast Cancer: Words of Inspiration

Article date: September 28, 2012

The Gospodinoff Family

"When we embrace uncertainty, it can be very liberating. If you can accept the uncertainty, it allows you to live life every day." - Victor Gospodinoff

 

For many who are facing a breast cancer diagnosis, hearing from others who've been through one already can be a great source of comfort and support. Find inspiration and hope in these words of wisdom from breast cancer survivors, caregivers, researchers and doctors.


 

The American Cancer Society has events, programs and services to help people connect, and give each other the practical and emotional support they need.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is our signature event to honor breast cancer survivors, raise awareness about the disease, and help save lives. More than 270 events take place in local communities every year.

In our Reach to Recovery program, volunteers who are themselves breast cancer survivors provide education and emotional support to people facing a breast cancer diagnosis or treatment.

Share your cancer experiences with people who understand in one of our online communities.

For round-the-clock assistance, our National Cancer Information Center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with Cancer Information Specialists ready to answer questions and help you find local resources Call 1-800-227-2345 or email us any time.

I joined a wonderful support group of young women with various types of cancer. I discovered a whole community of survivors who “got” what I was dealing with, in a way that someone who hasn’t heard the words, “You have cancer” could not.

~ Mary, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Rita Gore SOH My diagnosis brought everyone that was a part of my life even closer. We are wiser, and we have a better appreciation now for life and our blessings.

~ Rita Gore, breast cancer survivor

 

I am much better to myself. I give myself permission to do totally silly things just because I feel like it. I turn my music loud and sing, even though I can’t carry a tune. I got myself a sweet little dog from a rescue center. She brings such total joy to me. She reminds me how much fun it is to just be silly and free-spirited.

~ Brenda, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

I learned that it is better to tell people what they mean to us now, rather than to save it for a eulogy at a funeral service.

~ David, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Debbie Simpson SOHI trust the Lord and his plan for me is perfect, so whatever that will be, will be.

~ Debbie Simpson, breast cancer survivor   

 

 

 When I lost my hair and had to wear a wig, I found a new hairstyle that I like, and I will probably use that style when my hair grows back. For the moment, I never have a “bad hair day.”

~ Nancy, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need, whether it is an errand or a hand to hold – your friends and family really do want to help in any way they can.

~ Susan Pories, MD, FACS, breast surgical oncologist
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Cathy Hirsch SOHI can't even describe how talking with a Reach to Recovery volunteer changed my attitude. I realized cancer didn't have to take over my life.

~ Cathy Hirsch, breast cancer survivor

 

 

There are so many blessings that, at times, they seem to outweigh the negatives. First, I never felt more fully embraced and loved by family and friends. It was the most heartwarming experience to have a reason to tell people on a daily basis how much they meant to me, and to hear the same from them. For the first time in my life, I learned to put my own needs first. I gave myself permission to take care of myself. Instead of saying “later” to things, I said “yes.”

~ Mary, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Roy Duhe SOHWe all know people – mothers, sisters, daughters, neighbors – who have dealt with breast cancer, and it’s wonderful when we know people who are really surviving.

~ Roy Duhé, PhD, breast cancer researcher

 

 

To me, survivorship is very much an attitude; it’s a state of mind. How we interpret the experience of cancer and integrate it into our lives is fundamental to how we coexist with it. I have learned that hope is forever changing, and healing can come without curing.

~ Selma Schimmel, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Keep the faith, Baby. My positive attitude, my spirit, my will to live, made a world of difference. I knew things could always be worse. I had to hold on to something to give me hope, and I held onto God.

~ Jack Willis, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Sally Scanlon SOHI discovered there were huge benefits to exercising. I've since lost 50 pounds. But the mental benefit has been even more important. It is such a big stress release.

~ Sally Scanlon, breast cancer survivor

 

 

My advice is to remember that only you can fight your cancer. Other people can do the laundry, make meals, and even wipe away tears. You must – even if it’s the first time in your life – think of yourself first. No one can fight this battle as well as you can.

~ Deborah, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

I think that all the words of encouragement that were offered, not only to me but to my husband, were the most precious to our family. Sure, I had to deal with cancer, but my husband had to deal with me and the cancer. I truly am thankful for all the kindnesses he received.

~ Dorothy, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Anne Creech SOHWhen I have been blessed to recover, I feel like I'm here for a reason: to get other people through this.

~ Anne Creech, breast cancer survivor

 

 

Few people would have known I was going through treatment. I worked very hard to look normal, but I felt terrible. Now, when I see a crabby person, I realize I have no idea what he or she is going through. I have much more patience and empathy for others. At the same time, I have found an inner strength that many don’t have. Pain means nothing to me anymore. It just means I am alive.

~ Ann, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Take every step with purpose and passion. Do whatever you can, whenever you can, however you can. Share love and hugs freely. One person truly can make a difference!

~ Stacy Matseas, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer volunteer

 

I had to learn that to accept help is to give a gift to the one helping. It feels really good to be the one who can help.

~ Sandra, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

I am a firm believer in prayer. It calms me and gives me peace in times that I am spinning with emotions. It gives me someone to tell everything – however I want to say it – rather than picking the things that are appropriate for the person I’m talking to or working to say what I mean without seeming ungrateful or selfish or rude. I believe God knows me and understands what I need.

~ Beth, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Michael Hayes Samuelson SOHSince my diagnosis and treatment, I look for opportunities to wrap every fiber of my being around life. I pay attention to the quiet voices that nudge me out of the safe zone; I celebrate time with those who understand the power of the possible.

~ Michael Hayes Samuelson, breast cancer survivor

 

 When I let go of my ego, I realized that I was letting go of the need to be perfect. I was no longer angry about my reflection in the mirror. I was able to look at my reconstructed breast and not have my heart sink to my stomach. When I let go of my need to be perfect, my ego, I was then able to experience the Universe as a loving place where I am free to be imperfect!

~ Debbie, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Sue Sgambato SOHEvery time I volunteer with the American Cancer Society – whether I'm holding a cancer patient's hand at an outpatient clinic or rallying a team for Relay For Life – I feel like I'm fighting back. Volunteering turns all my feelings of grief and powerlessness towards cancer into real power.

~ Sue Sgambato, breast cancer survivor

 

 I have surgery scars, but I consider them battle scars.

~ Eileen, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

I did well. I told myself that I needed to be strong for my husband, my children and my family. I had moments when I let my thoughts take over and I cried and I cried and that's okay. But I got myself together and took care of my family the best I could.

~ Amy, breast cancer survivor

 

I have begun running and now run three to five times a week, for thirty-five minutes. I’m in better shape now than before I had cancer.

~ Cathi, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

It would have helped me to know that there was a good, but different, life after all the treatment – that I would probably never feel so much heartbreak as I did, but that it would ease in time.

~ Pearl, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Colleen Creamer SOHI'm just a regular person who got breast cancer. Everyone who has been affected by breast cancer is just a “regular person.” Moms, daughters, sisters and best friends – this disease is non-discriminating.

~ Colleen Creamer, breast cancer survivor

 

 

 The turning point in my true healing was when I read a quote that changed my way of thinking for good: “Hope and hopelessness are both a choice, so why not choose Hope?”

~ Heather Warrick, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Being a cancer survivor means living my life. I have chosen not to let the fact that I survived cancer define me as a person. Rather, I draw from the strength I found while I was recovering.

~ Sarah, breast cancer survivor
From What Helped Get Me Through

 

Victor Gospodinoff SOHWhen we embrace uncertainty, it can be very liberating. If you can accept the uncertainty, it allows you to live life every day.

~ Victor Gospodinoff, caregiver and husband of breast cancer survivor