You can still be a strong woman and say yes to support

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'If I ever get cancer again, I will be stronger' was different than she thought

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

from What Helped Me Get Through; Cancer Survivors Share Wisdom and Hope
Edited by Julie K. Silver, MD
Image – Julie McLeod

What Helped Get Me Through is one of many books published by the American Cancer Society.

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