You can still be a strong woman and say yes to support
The most important thing I did was to give myself the ability to be strong. When I had melanoma, I was only twenty-one years old, a blond, blue-eyed sun worshiper. At the time, I fell apart, about my cancer diagnosis. I cried and pouted. Later I looked back on the person I was and declared, “If I ever get cancer again, I will be stronger.” Of course, maturity and age helped me be a stronger person the second time. For me, that meant I didn’t fall apart when I was diagnosed. It was “Let’s make a plan and get going.” Waiting for the diagnosis was the worst part. But I did something special by saying to myself, “You can still be a strong woman and say yes to support.”
I’ve never been very good at saying I needed help; I was the one who held everyone together. But I realized that I could be a strong woman and fight, and I could do it with the help of others. I let people bring food, clean my house, and take care of my family.
by Deb, nurse practitioner
Diagnosis of melanoma (skin cancer) at age 21 in 1971 and breast cancer at age 52 in 2006