I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer in 2015. I was devastated to learn that Stage 4 was terminal. My world turned upside as of that moment. But my awesome oncologist explained that it may not be curable, BUT IT IS treatable. She explained everything to me very well and gave me all my treatment options. I began my 1st line of treatment immediately.
Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with yet another type of cancer in 2017. (Neuroendocrine)
The words, “It’s another type of cancer not related to the breast cancer,” hit me like a ton of bricks. I was devastated yet again from cancer. I already had Stage 4 terminal breast cancer and now another cancer to fight as well. My days were obviously numbered. My oncologist was great at explaining my treatment options with this 2nd cancer, and I began treatment immediately.
My heart was heavy upon these diagnoses, and I was really going into a dark place. I didn’t tell anyone, but my immediate family and my employer about the cancer. By then I was extremely overwhelmed thinking I was going to die soon. I remained at home “hiding” from everyone. I lost “Nancy” in all this, and I could not find balance in my day to day life. “Time” was being stripped away so quickly.
My team at Levine kept suggesting that I attend some of the free classes they were offering to maybe connect with other cancer patients. It took me almost 3 years to feel comfortable enough to leave the security of my home and face people. The classes offered at Levine was exactly what I needed, and I consider them to be what saved me from giving up in this cancer journey. What started out as signing up for one class has now turned in to me attending: Chair Yoga, Art Class, Knitting Circle, Healing Touch, Acupuncture, and Message Therapy. Even now during the pandemic I can participate because they offer some of these classes on-line weekly. At least I can still feel connected to Levine and the classes offered during this exceedingly difficult time we are all experiencing due to COVID19.
I have always heard that your mental strength is a large part of staying ahead of this disease. My mom has always taught me to “Keep moving, never give up!” I may have had a rocky start back in 2015, but when I finally started attending various classes at Levine I found it easier to WANT to keep moving and not give up !
My advice to any cancer patient is to get involved in going to the free classes offered. It makes my cancer journey much more bearable and I continue to connect with cancer patients to this day. One thing to remember also is that you may not know how important your conversation was with someone that day. You may be the light that they need to see through that darkness. Everyone has a story to share and just by being able to share it, lessens the burden on you carrying it alone. There are so many good listeners out there who want to help you along your journey, just give them the chance.