Lost and Found: Passed Time and Gained Purposes From Early-Stage to Metastatic Breast Cancer

Long-time LBBC volunteer Caryn Kaplan reflects on what’s she’s lost and gained from her initial diagnosis to a re-diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer.Join Caryn in our Beyond The Breast Campaign.1036BC1E-98A5-493F-9CA2-70A82FC13EA7
So much time has passed since my first diagnosis of breast cancer, which was T1N1, infiltrating ductal carcinoma, ER-positive, HR-negative. That was 17 years ago. At that time I had a lumpectomy followed by chemo and radiation. My kids were so young at that time, but I shared with them gingerly what they needed to know.

Passed…. Losing that year and watching my children grow, my husband changed-becoming a caretaker of both me and the kids.

Passed… Losing control of what I could not change, while working full time

Gained… Finding my inner strength!!

My second diagnosis, reoccurrence of the cancer about 6 years later.  This time mastectomy, reconstruction, followed by chemo.

Passed….another year lost in the haze.  More time lost with my kids and husband. Still working full time, my husband took charge once again.

Passed.. My fear of reoccurrence.

Gained.. The knowledge of new drugs introduced, to help with the side effects.

Gained.. Peaking my interest in helping others touched by cancer.

My third diagnosis, metastatic breast cancer, approximately 6 years later. Mets to my liver and bones. This time my life has totally changed. I decided to stop working and devote myself to my family, taking care of myself, and helping others.

Passed…  Feeling of insecurity.

Passed… Now, although my children are grown,  not being present in their life.

Gained..My passion fulfilled.  Giving much of my time back to those touched by breast cancer.  Helping those in need of a person to talk to..Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Breast Cancer Helpline.  Being an advocate to help raise awareness of Metastatic Breast Cancer. Fighting for more funding to help research. I have never been so fulfilled by all the volunteer work I do.

Gained….Thanking my breast cancer for molding my life and helping me find what I always wanted to do, working for the “greater good”, helping others and fighting for more research.

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