I never asked the “Why me?” questions. However, I did ask the “Why so young?” questions. To me, receiving a breast cancer diagnosis was eye opening to say the least, but I knew it was in God’s plans to steer me into a path he has chosen for me.
A month prior to my expander replacement surgery, I heard of a young women’s breast conference in Seattle. This would be a perfect opportunity for me. I could learn many things about my cancer, or things about having kids after Tamoxifen, or even learn about a healthy lifestyle. I figured the best part of the conference would be meeting women from all across North America, in all stages of their cancer diagnosis and treatments, and to help me realize that I definitely was not alone.
As soon as I arrived, I immediately knew I had come to the right place. God had made sure I had heard of the conference and made it available to attend at the last minute. I saw women who had just lost their hair to chemo, and women who were in the stages of growing their hair out. I saw women younger than my 34-year-old self. I saw women bring their family, their friends, and even their spouses. Most importantly, I saw happiness and joyfulness across everyone’s face.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer is scary enough. Being diagnosed at a young age is even scarier. Having the ability to come together with other survivors is empowering by allowing us to meet others just like ourselves. I was able to take a class with women that have the same interests and questions. I was able to socialize with others, to talk about others’ experiences, and to make friends.
I left that breast cancer conference early due to the flu and fear of giving others my germs, especially those with compromised immune systems. I would have loved to take the Sunday classes – even just to finish out the Saturday activities would have been amazing. However, I left the conference with fantastic information I was able to bring back home and implement. I found out about wonderful non-profits around the country, or businesses that specialize in breast cancer products.
I continue to seek out conferences for: those with breast cancer, those for young adults, or just solely for women cancer survivors. I have found a few amazing possibilities that I have on my watch list. Being able to go would be great. Being able to afford the traveling expenses to all the conferences would be nice. Being able to share what I learned with all of you would be the greatest gift of all.
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