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UICC World Cancer Congress 2006
Bridging the Gap: Transforming Knowledge into Action
July 8-12, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Methods: Analysis of my personal case
Results: To have breast cancer had changed my life. In fact all my life was overwhelmed. This problem made me tremble but, fortunately, I didn't fall or, at least, I succeeded in getting up. I shivered of fear, rage, and impotence. The spectre of death appeared, the same disease as my mother. Death was in my sight…
After some time of disorientation I began to control myself, my emotions. And then I thought about my husband, my children, my friends, about the life I had before me and that I was sure I didn't want to give up.
I ought to defeat the “invader”, the “enemy”.
I wanted to live as long as I could and I fight for it with the help of my doctor, my family, my friends and co-workers and everybody and everything that could make me a winner.
I underwent a surgery, in fact a mastectomy.
After that, I needed to recover, to learn how to live, how to look at me, to the others and to think very well about what I wanted to do with my life. Because I was different, I had one breast less and that sensation of loss always…
Before I could move on with my life I needed to take sometime to acknowledge my grief of the loss of my breast.
My doctor told me about a support group – Vencer e Viver, where all the members were volunteers and breast cancer survivors.
These women who had been through the same situation could, with their experience, help me solving my problems and, probably, help me to find myself…
I went to Vencer e Viver and, in fact, it was so warming to be there, to find a prosthesis that fitted me well, to see how these women lived happy and readapted although their experience with breast cancer, like me. They give me some tips that could help me to regain more easily my self-esteem. I return to work little time after surgery. I felt physically well but not emotionally. I still had moments of great anxiety and loneliness.
It was a long process. There have been good days and not so good but here I am. I survive to the disease and the crisis.
Two years after, I definitely felt like a survivor and I began to think that, it was my duty to tell my story, to tell the women with a breast cancer diagnosis that it was possible to defeat the disease and follow on living.
And so, I joined Vencer e Viver and I became a Reach to Recovery Volunteer.
I have received so much that I felt the necessity of giving back a little to women living a breast cancer experience. Who, better than us, can say, “I understand what you are saying because I have been through the same situation”.
Also I am very engaged in the fight against breast cancer, in the education of the new generations, in the spreading of information about prevention and early detection. I like to tell young women about breast cancer and let them know that nobody is immune, that early detection can save their lives as it has done with me.
Transition from patient to volunteer was an easy and natural step for me.
See more of Peer Support Programs: The Reach to Recovery International Model
See more of Cancer Supportive Care
See more of The UICC World Cancer Congress 2006