When I was diagnosed I was devastated. A few years before, I was at my mother's side as she died of breast cancer. She fought her cancer in her own way, with a quiet dignity and unquestioning acceptance.
In my own struggle it was vital for me to become actively involved in my choices and treatment. After reading, talking to people in the cancer field and having several consultations with physicians, I found a team of doctors who viewed breast conservation as a viable treatment option.
The contrast between my experience an that of my mother's has led to some significant changes in my life: I became involved in patient support, returned to school and earned a Ph.D, and wrote my dissertation on "Choices and Options in Breast Cancer Decisions."
If I could give a gift to my sister, daughters and grand-daughters, it would be to see me as a living example of hope for the future. - Connie