Blogging for CURE helped me find my voice and process my breast cancer experience.
Bonnie Annis is a breast cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2014 with stage 2b invasive ductal carcinoma with metastasis to the lymph nodes. She is an avid photographer, freelance writer/blogger, wife, mother and grandmother.
In 2015, shortly after I had completed treatments for breast cancer, I submitted an article on sexual intimacy and breast cancer to CURE
magazine. I wasn’t sure if the article was acceptable for publication, but felt the words in my heart needed to be shared. At that time, I was just beginning to navigate the world of breast cancer.
Each day brought about its own set of challenges. Some of those challenges were emotional and some were physical. Everything about breast cancer was foreign to me. I felt so alone.
There were days when I felt like I was on a never-ending roller coaster zooming faster and faster into the world of the unknown and then, there were days when time seemed to virtually stand still. Seconds turned into days and days turned into years.
As each set of challenges came, I found I needed to be heard. I wanted to share my experiences in hopes of helping others. CURE
helped me find my voice.
Blogging for CURE
has become a form of release. As I’ve written about my joys and sorrows with breast cancer, it’s been therapeutic for me. Writing helped me process what I was going through.
As I shared my experiences, I knew there were others who must have either been through exactly what I was going through at the time or there were those who’d go through it in the very near future. I knew there was an ever-growing community of readers who not only needed to understand the effects of breast cancer but wanted to know they weren’t alone.
By being open and honest about my personal journey with breast cancer, I sometimes feel the pain and suffering have been worth it. If at least one of my posts have touched the life of someone who needed it, then I feel happy.
Breast cancer is so mysteriously confusing! The way it comes into a life and manipulates it is so unfair.
There are no manuals explaining how to move through breast cancer. It’s a very personal and unique experience. Yes, there are bloggers, like me, who share how we’ve managed or what we’ve felt as each phase of breast cancer has come and gone. But we can only give tidbits of helpful information. Breast cancer is something one has to maneuver through individually.
Cancer brings with it valuable life lessons. Some of the lessons are difficult to accept while others are easy, but none can deny, cancer is a teacher.
Some students, in the school of breast cancer, never grasp the lessons. They can’t get past the fighting stage. It consumes their life. Others are inquisitive asking cancer "What do you have to teach me?" And, although I’m not trying to make light of the terrible, awfulness of breast cancer, there are many things I’ve learned over the past three years.
Here are some of the things cancer has taught me:
Life is precious
. I took it for granted before cancer. I always thought there would be a tomorrow, and that’s not necessarily the case. I want to use my moments wisely. I’m careful not to waste any of them.
Love matters most
. It’s important to always make sure others know you love and care about them. Don’t be afraid to tell people you love them when you have the chance. You never know when that chance will disappear.
Suffering doesn’t last forever
. There will be times of pain and suffering. Sometimes it will be worse and sometimes it will be better, but it won’t last forever. Sometimes medication helps and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, death is the final release.
Let others in
. There’s an old saying, "A sorrow shared is a sorrow divided, but a joy shared is a joy multiplied.” By letting others share in your hardships and accomplishments, you won’t feel isolated or alone.
Breast cancer survivors want to help
. Those who’ve been through breast cancer want to come alongside and help those who’ve just started their journey. They’ll offer good advice, helpful tips and be a sounding board, if you need it. And they will also respect your privacy and never push themselves on you.
There are so many more lessons I’ve learned through breast cancer, but I can’t share them all here. As someone touched by breast cancer, I want you to understand that it’s important to use your voice. Don’t be afraid to talk about how you’re feeling or what you’ve been through. And, if you’re blessed to have an outlet for sharing your experience, use it!
I’m so thankful for the opportunity to blog on CURE
magazine’s website. It’s a wonderful, powerful platform for reaching others with the gift of hope.
Breast cancer will do its best to make you feel isolated and alone, but never forget, there’s an army behind you. Even if you can’t see us, we stand with you in the fight against breast cancer.