Thursday, September 16, 2004
Friends for the Journey
Each and every day I become more aware of what living with and surviving breast cancer means. Strangely enough, this lesson is not coming from my personal experience. I’m learning it through the people I meet and those whose stories I hear. With 200,000 women in the U.S. diagnosed with breast cancer each year, there is a wealth of heroic stories out there. I read about a young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 23, tumor and with positive lymph nodes. She fought and won. She now has 3 beautiful daughters. Then I read about the young woman who was diagnosed at age 32 while nine months pregnant. She also had positive nodes. She had a c-section, mastectomy, and lymph node dissection all at the same time. She just finished chemotherapy. I just know she will continue to fight this beast with courage and tremendous faith and live to see her grandchildren grow up.

Of course there is a show off in every crowd. There is a woman who was a model and a marathon runner who was diagnosed with breast cancer around age 30. She ran her 4th marathon in the middle of her chemo treatments (really, that’s just sick!). She is doing great now as a survivor. Still running marathons and working as a motivational speaker. She and all the other countless surviviors are amazing. I carry them all with me on my journey.

I guess I just don’t allow myself to look at the big picture for myself right now. I have to focus on the things that come up each and every day and win the small battles. This includes dealing with the side effects, dealing with my insurance plan, finding the energy I need just do “normal” things. Although the definition for “normal” sure escapes me these days. When I hear the courageous stories of the women who have fought this battle, I am so inspired though somehow I don’t relate to them personally. On so many levels this journey is more than real and on some levels it feels like it isn’t happening to me at all. I just take it one day at a time. I am sure that one day I will look back in amazement at everything I have been through. For now, as long as I wake each day and try in some small way to make the world a better place, nothing else really matters.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12