Something to READ : Joann's Story []

I am a cancer survivor.
My story is about Attitude.

To me, live strong means not living weakly. In order to thrive I must be my own best ally. I can't do that if I'm living weakly, so I must live strong.
I've worn the yellow wristband because It represents victory and the ability to restore happiness in my life after the effects of a disease that has often covered it with clouds of sadness

There have been many moments along this journey where all I can do to soothe my spirit is to retreat into the comfort of my own arms. At times like this, I lay down on my bed with my arms clutched firmly around a pillow and shed tears I don't want others to see, meanwhile my heart aches for the confidence I once had in life. 

I allow myself to experience these moments of weakness, but I don't allow them to consume me. I always wipe away the tears, subdue the weakness, and remind myself that breast cancer has not obliterated the essence of who I am. I derive strength from my own experience as a three-time survivor.

My initial diagnosis in 1998 was surprising. I found the lump myself at age 32. My second diagnosis in 2004 was disappointing. My doctor had told me for two years that the lump I could feel was scar tissue. My third diagnosis in 2005 was inspirational. My plastic surgeon noticed a suspicious lymph node during reconstructive surgery and removed it. He had found another malignancy.

Over the years, I've endured all the requisite treatments and their interesting side effects. I am still learning to accept the scars that trace my history with this disease. I realize I wouldn't be here without them. Like many others, I believe cancer has given me a new life. My priorities have changed. I feel as though my heart beats with more meaning. 

Now, I try not to squander away my heart beats on frustration and anger, but instead to spend them on happiness and laughter.



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