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    NancyK wrote on westerngrad00's wall

    Absolutely agree with Terri. You're not alone and you're not done.

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    NancyK shared an experience

    Celebration (Encouragement and emotional support): Another celebration in my breast cancer journey occurred at work. I had chosen to continue working through my chemotherapy, and I had a group of financial center managers in training, and I would meet with them monthly. They would make formal presentations to executive management, we would go over various leadership components, and the idea was to increase their overall effectiveness.
    One month after I had started chemotherapy, after they had made their formal presentations, each one of them then stood up and had different colored rubber bracelets that said “strength” or “courage” or “faith,” something like that. And each one of them talked about how that represented me, and that that was their hope for me. And then they gave me, my own bracelet. Not a dry eye in the house, then or now.

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    NancyK shared an experience

    Other Care (CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine)): There is some standard care for breast cancer, which may include chemotherapy, radiation, etc. But I was open to anything that made me feel better, especially as I started racking up some side effects, some more serious than others. So for example, I learned biofeedback, I learned how to do healing touch, acupuncture was a big part of it – these were all prescribed by my doctor and managed through the integrated care center that they have for cancer patients. I also found a great deal of relief in warm water, so I would go to the “Y” in the warm water pools daily. My support group I count as being just as important as all those other cares in giving me relief, giving me knowledge, helping me go through this journey.

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    NancyK shared an experience

    Clinical Trial: I think clinical trials play a very important role in treating breast cancer. Where would we be without them? Although I did not participate in a specific trial, I did use Herceptin off-label. It had not been approved at that point for early breast cancer. And of course I feel like it played such a role in keeping me healthy, but I would participate in any breast cancer trials that were available to me.

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    NancyK shared an experience

    Loss (Loss of Self): There are a lot of losses associated with breast cancer. Some of them—like losing all your hair—perhaps minor—may feel pretty traumatic. I know when I got down to two eyelashes on one eye and three eyelashes on the other: I felt that loss.
    But a more significant loss I think was when I went to a colleague’s retirement party. I was very tired, I was sick, and although I was enjoying myself, there was a video of my colleague over her thirty years with the company, and somewhere in that video was a picture of me ten years earlier. And I looked so strong and so vibrant and I remember sitting there that night feeling…erased… And I know people came up to me and talked about what an impact I had on their lives and I really felt like they thought they were seeing me for the last time. And my assistant asked if she could drive me home. It was a terrible day, terrible. The loss of self, I think.

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    NancyK shared an experience

    Decision Point: There will be so many decisions that you’ll have to make in your breast cancer journey. Take the time to get the facts before you make those decisions. For me, one of the biggest ones involved my job. I had chosen to work throughout my chemotherapy and into radiation. But there came a point where I was attending a meeting in San Francisco and it took me 45 minutes to walk a block from the hotel to my office. I didn’t realize it at the time that I had cardiomyopathy, a heart failure, but I did know I had neuropathy, and I was in such pain and was so unable to breathe and I thought “I can’t do this anymore. I have to put whatever energy I’ve got into getting my health back.”
    And so I told my boss that day that I would be taking time off of work. And you know the funny thing is that I’ve never looked back. It opened up so many vistas that weren’t possible for me before when I was looking at getting back to the way things were. I don’t think you can ever go backwards; you need to go forwards. And that was a great lesson for me.