In April 2014, Lynette was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. When YSC invited survivors and co-survivors to the 2015 Summit 11 months later, she and her husband John were eager to attend and ready to learn as much as they could. They took advantage of the workshop tracts for co-survivors and women living with metastatic breast cancer. Afterward, they took their new knowledge back to California and Lynette signed up to be a State Leader.
YSC interviewed Lynette and John about their experiences at the 2015 Summit, and the advice they might give to first-time attendees.
What was your favorite part of the Summit?
Lynnette – I live in a small town, so just being around other young cancer survivors/fighters was great. But being with other metastatic fighters was amazing! I was just about a year out from diagnosis and had yet to talk to anyone in my situation. Being able to connect with the other ladies changed my life!
John – My favorite part of the Summit was when the metastatic group of women decided to sit together as a group at the general group sessions attended by everyone. I thought it demonstrated unity.
What were your favorite sessions?
Lynette – I could listen to Dr. Susan Love and Dr. Don Dizon all day! The “Young & Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer” session was my favorite. It was like a 90-minute therapy session. I knew sitting in that session I needed this more than I thought I did. That night I told my husband we had to bring YSC to our town! I knew I couldn’t be the only young adult with breast cancer…other people need this amazing support, too!
John – My favorite sessions were the co-survivor sessions and the two sessions headed by Dr. Susan Love and Dr. Don Dizon, who were informative, honest and inspiring.
Do you have any “must-do” recommendations for people going for the first time this year?
Lynette – Don’t miss the General Sessions. A must for me was the Metastatic session and the Advocacy session.
John – As a must-do, I would highly recommend all of the co-survivor sessions, as well as any Advocacy session. The Advocacy session is important to learn how to take the first steps as a metastatic or breast cancer advocate for YSC. The lessons learned in this session can be applied immediately when returning home to bring some much-needed information/awareness about the goal of finding a cure.
What was it like to attend as a co-survivor and meet other co-survivors?
John – As a co-survivor, I wasn’t sure I would have a real place at the Summit, but I was hoping to learn some new information on treatment methods I may not know about.
As a male who generally does not seek open communication with strangers, I found the co-survivor sessions were invaluable because I was able to meet others like me. Meeting them face-to-face is totally different from “meeting” through the internet, and the shared stories and lessons learned made a more meaningful impression on me.
What was it like to attend as a young woman living with metastatic breast cancer and meet other women like you?
Lynette – I was the only young adult to be diagnosed with mets in my town, and there was very little support for me. YSC was the first place I found that spoke about metastatic breast cancer in young adults. The support alone was just what I needed. But the icing on the cake was the “me, too!” and ”I’m not crazy.” I found where I belonged. I found a place where I was no longer alone.
Any other helpful hints?
Lynnette – You won’t have time to attend all of the amazing sessions during the Summit, so make sure you read what the sessions are all about ahead of time and decide which ones are most important to you. Enjoy meeting the amazing people you’ll soon call your friends!