A Volunteer’s Story

 

Update: Below are images from Saturday’s conference–check them out! And if you attended the conference, let us know what you thought by leaving a comment below.

Go here to see more photos from the conference.

 

 

This is a story from one of our volunteers about her experiences at LBBC’s annual fall conference:

When I completed my treatment for breast cancer in August 2002, I knew that I needed to get on with my life. I had worked as much as I could while undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. I describe myself as a “prickly pear “: I will give anyone the shirt off of my back but I will not ask for help for myself. So I didn’t join a support group at the hospital where I received treatment or any of the many cancer organizations in the Delaware Valley. But I felt that I needed to learn and do more about breast cancer.

I attended the organization’s fall conference in 2004. I had no idea what the experience would be like but I was interested in the range of topics offered at the conference. I was also curious about the women who would attend.

When I arrived at the Convention Center in Philadelphia, I was immediately put at ease. Everyone was welcoming and helpful. I also noticed everyone was wearing a different color lei. I soon learned that the colors represented years of survivorship. At this point in time I was an 18 month survivor and it was encouraging to see women who were 5, 10, 17, and 20 year survivors. It gave me such hope.

I do recall one workshop at the conference. At that time I was taking Tamoxifen and, in addition to the usual side effects, I had no sex drive. I had discussed this problem with my doctors but I needed to hear from other women experiencing the same lack of desire. Luck was with me and one of the scheduled workshops was entitled ‘Sex after Breast Cancer’. Dr. Marisa Weiss, the founder of LBBC, conducted the workshop, which was well attended. I loved the interaction between Dr. Weiss and the audience as women discussed the merits of various brands of vaginal lubricants. Everything was discussed and I felt as though I wasn’t the only one experiencing this problem. Many questions were raised and they were answered with practical information as well as humor. As I love to laugh, I was able to remember many of the helpful hints that Dr. Weiss suggested. My husband really appreciated the fact that I attended this workshop and we put the information to good use.

Being at the fall conference was like being with a group of girlfriends. Although none of us knew each other, we all had the common bond of a breast cancer experience. We didn’t have to explain our feelings or concerns, we’d all been there. We shared our stories, laughed, and had a good time interacting with each other.  I learned a lot from the wonderful people I met that day. I also learned that it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help and support. Sometimes you just need to talk with someone who’s been in the same place you have.

If you’re interested in attending LBBC’s annual fall conference, News You Can Use: The Future of Breast Cancer Care on Saturday, November 14, visit our website or call (610) 645-4567 to register. Don’t pass up the opportunity to get groundbreaking information and connect with other women affected by breast cancer.

One thought on “A Volunteer’s Story

  1. I was diagnosed with stage 1 Breast cancer in 2006. I was 8 months overdue for my yearly mammogram that even with the benefit of re-examination hindsight was perfectly clear. Yet there it was, clear as day, a nearly 1 cm cancer. My surgeon said, “that’s why we tell you, you should go every year!’ They can grow pretty fast, and the whole picture of treatment options and prognosis changes because of it. Mammogram found my cancers in 2006 and 2009 at a very early stage. I have had lumpectomy and radiation and a course of chemotherapy now, and I am pleased I still have my breasts. There is enough pain with lumpectomy, if you can avoid mastectomy it is a good thing. I have had bilateral MRI to confirm that treatment appears to be complete, and I am considered to have a good prognosis, despite having two different kinds of cancer in two different breasts

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