Donna Thayer

Association: Patient
Region: California
Cancer: Breast

"What I can now say with certainty: Along with the discomfort of procedures, side effects, and treatment comes a huge sense of self."

“I recall very clearly within a day or two of my first breast cancer diagnosis in July 2014, sitting in the living room of a home I had just bought, and thinking, “I don’t want anyone to look at me and think, ‘She’s a cancer patient.” And, so began my journey to appear healthy, fit and “put together”. My resolution was not one of vanity; I continue to believe that a sense of normalcy helped me traverse the dark days of chemotherapy, port implantation, fatigue, “metal mouth”, and other physical side effects.

As a 57-year-old woman who has now battled breast cancer twice in fewer than four years, I feel I can speak to other women who might be facing cancer for the first time, who are scared, uncertain about such a diagnosis. What I can now say with certainty: Along with the discomfort of procedures, side effects, and treatment comes a huge sense of self. Life can feel unfamiliar. However, it does return to normal. And we can emerge fully confident that we are survivors.

One – Be your own advocate! Demand information, research [you will find amazing information online], ask questions, be persistent. Two – Address what YOU can do to avoid a cancer recurrence in terms of lifestyle choices, i.e., diet, exercise and related habits. Three – Be kind to yourself. Seek out support as needed.” 

 

A cancer diagnosis can actually bring with it a host of blessings. It caused me to reassess my stress level, how many hours per week I was working, and a few dietary changes that I believe have truly been beneficial.”