Hear candid conversations between people conquering cancer – patients, their family and friends, and doctors and researchers working to help us all.
"Stop Googling and Start Trusting"
“I'll never forget it,” Brenda recalls of the moment she learned she had cancer. “My colorful life turned grey and black, and everything moved in slow motion.”
In the years before her diagnosis, Brenda had lost her dad and her best friend to cancer. She couldn’t believe it was happening to her. Though her prognosis was hopeful, she felt more isolated and anxious than she’d ever been as she made decisions for herself about care teams and treatment plans. It was her oncologist who convinced Brenda to let others take control and help her.
“He quickly told me that, you know, it was time for me to stop Googling and to start trusting,” Brenda said.
Share Your Story and Invite Others In
Part of trusting for Brenda meant relying on a support network to help her at home and at work.
“I'm an extrovert, and I love people, but I became an introvert, and I didn't want to talk to people. I was very depressed. I was fighting a lot of anxiety and depression,” Brenda shared. “And so, I basically gave my sisters and my friends carte blanche and they put together a spreadsheet, and we really ran my cancer almost as I run my business. Thank God for a bunch of driven women.”
Eventually, Brenda started a blog to document her experience. It was therapy for her to write and provided a way for her to communicate indirectly with others when she was too overwhelmed or sick to see friends and family. It was also the start of the role she would come to play as a survivor - a mentor to other patients with cancer.
“I want to continue to tell my story because I'm finding that I'm able to help people,” said Brenda. “And to me, that matters.”
Ask for Help
“There are things that if I wasn't trying to be so independent, now that I look back, I would have done differently to get more support for me and for my daughter,” said Brenda.
Brenda has been cancer free for 8 years. When she mentors new patients, she shares the lessons she has learned along the way about getting treatment for mental health, dealing with lingering side effects from lymphedema, and protecting her finances.
“I had very good health insurance. I'm grateful, but it did set me back significantly. And by the time I figured it out, I could not collect on my disability insurance that I had been paying in for a long time,” said Brenda, whose message to everyone is don’t be afraid to ask for help.
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There is nothing Brenda won’t share about her breast cancer experience if it will help make conquering easier for others.