A New Bond Becomes a Strong Bond

YSC Summit and SymposiumsMany young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer feel alone.  Even for those with supportive families and friends, there’s sometimes a longing to connect with women who “get it.” To help alleviate this isolation, Young Survival Coalition will host the 2015 national summit and regional symposiums to address the concerns and unique issues young women face.

Melanie was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2011 when she was 30 years old.  To her dismay, she didn’t receive a lot of support from her loved ones and no one accompanied her to chemotherapy treatments.  “I removed myself from a lot of people,” she says. “I became more of an isolated person because I felt like I wasn’t getting any help.“ Unable to find other young survivors in her city, Melanie felt it was important that she attend C4YW so she could meet other women she could relate to physically, mentally and emotionally.

When LaMonica was diagnosed with DCIS in 2012 at the age of 37, she was able to cope with her diagnosis because her family supported her and they often prayed together. Although LaMonica attended support groups, she wanted to ask questions but she kept to herself. “I just really went to listen,” she says.  “There was no one African American in my age group that I could relate to.” Instead, she conducted research to educate and encourage herself.  She decided to attend C4YW to establish some “sister connections” with other young women.

During the C4YW Conference in February 2014, which took place in Orlando, FL, breast cancer survivors Melanie from Nashville, TN and LaMonica from Akron, OH began their budding friendship.

Both women look forward to the possibility of connecting in person during the #YSC2015 Summit in Houston, TX in March 6-8, 2015.

(L-R, Melanie and LaMonica at the Cancer and Careers Conference)

(L-R, Melanie and LaMonica at the Cancer and Careers Conference)

While waiting for the shuttle bus to take them from the airport to the conference hotel, Melanie and LaMonica started talking and realized they had a lot in common. “We just clicked. It was like we were friends forever,” recalls Melanie.

LaMonica was relieved to meet Melanie because she was visiting a new city. “I just felt really comfortable. I was able to finally connect with somebody who experienced breast cancer as a single mother.”

Upon arriving at the conference, LaMonica and Melanie were amazed by the hundreds of other young women they encountered.

“I already felt that breast cancer patients or survivors are already in their own little world.  I had visited a different type of world,” says Melanie.

Both women were empowered by the speakers, workshops, resources and the testimonials of other survivors at the conference.

“It was good to hear how other women overcame with work and family and kids. How they coped and what they did to get through it,“ said LaMonica.

Upon returning home from the conference, Melanie and LaMonica communicate with each other often usually through text messages.  They share information about resources they’ve found and they discuss how they’re relating in their daily lives. In June, they both attended the Cancer and Careers Conference in New York City of which YSC is a community partner.  This was another great opportunity for them to gain more knowledge and spend time together.  Melanie feels that LaMonica is the support that she needs to help her along her breast cancer journey: “She is a sweet person, a wonderful individual,” she said.  “We have a bond that’s unbreakable.”

 

 

Comment (1)
Categories: YSC SYNC - Survivors

One Response to A New Bond Becomes a Strong Bond

  1. Karen Rice says:

    “An Awakening”

    When I was diagnosed with Breast cancer a few years back, I reacted like most who receive a cancer diagnose; first thing came to mind was a “death sentence”. However, I found out later that it was truly “an awakening”. I began questioning God, why would you do this to me? What had I done in life so bad to have this placed upon me? But instead of bemoaning my fate, I decided to look for the positive side of it. There has to be a reason for it all.

    I also realized that I was about to face a new beginning, new hope, do and see more with a whole new prospective on life. When I think of the “gift of life” that was given to me, I know that I will develop and gain strength from all my experiences. After going through all that I did during my breast cancer period, I was left with a few complications I now have to live with; one being daily pain. For a while, I wasn’t happy with the way I looked around my breast area, nor the pain I had to endure each day, but I decided to snap out of it. Even after being diagnosed with another cancer (colon) a few years later. Which totally took me by surprise. I had already had my time with cancer, I thought to myself. Why another one? I even make jokes at times, while crying inside. But even with the pain I had to endure through each diagnose, and all the struggles I’ve dealt with all my life, I still feel truly blessed. I think about the individuals that are no longer among us. I also realized that there will always be someone worse off than I am. I reminded myself, that I “still have my life”, so who am I to complain.

    One day during one of my surgeries, I experienced something of a miracle, as if I went to the other side, so I felt the compulsion to write it down. I turn that experience into a poem and I called it “Peace”. Writing had become therapy for me. I took that poem, along with many others I had composed during my breast cancer period and placed them into book form. I was blessed enough to have that book published. I later had another inspirational children’s book published, with a third one on the way. I’m hoping that anyone who has the opportunity to read the poems of my first book, get out of them, what I placed in all of them. My poems are from the heart, as real as any could ever be. With the words and phrases of each poem of statement, I wish to make a positive impact on someone who’s ill or otherwise, where they could develop the strength to embrace life in a whole new way. I never anticipated becoming a writer, I just became one. I truly believe when you survive a horrific tragedy or a horrible disease as cancer, it’s for a reason, “you have a purpose” and I want to live to find find out exactly what that is for me.

    That’s what I’m all about now, inspiration. I would have never become a writer, producing inspirational poems and stories, if I had not gone through all that I did. I’m a true example that you can survive cancer not once, but twice, providing you catch it in time, have faith and allow that faith to direct your path. I’ve not saying all will be easy, I had my moments from the beginning; when my breast cancer wasn’t found by the mammogram, it was detected by an Ultrasound. Either way, you must be tested, and no matter the outcome; be strong, deal with it and believe.

    Karen Rice
    x2 Cancer Survivor/Author
    http://www.karensfaithandsurvivor77.shutterfly.com

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