Mammography site provided by The Cancer Institute of NYU Langone Medical Center
© 2011 Mark Jason Photography
Breast cancer survivor since 2007
What does being a Survivor mean to you?
To me, being a survivor means more than the fact that I “beat the beast”. To me, it means sharing my story, always pushing for awareness and ultimately a cure. Diagnosed at 40 with Stage IIB cancer, I feel it so important to share my story — even if I only reach one woman, I will know I have made a difference. A routine mammogram found my tumor, so my story is one of prevention and of hope.
How has being a Survivor affected your life?
My life has been impacted in so many ways — I never thought I would hear the words “you have cancer” or be bald! Enduring through treatment taught me many lessons that I carry on as a survivor. I no longer sweat the small stuff. I tell those in my life that I love that I do, as much as possible. I use my fine china for even just my husband and myself. I am passionate about prevention and committed to finding a cure. I have even returned to school to get a graduate degree in health communications with hopes I can do some good in the realm of healthcare.
This may sound somewhat weird, but I chose to be photographed with a mammography machine. Upon having my first post surgery scan, I surprised the technician by embracing the machine with a “Hello lover”… I was able to easily explain myself — “It saved my life”. She commented that no one had ever viewed the unpleasantness of mammogram so positively during her tenure as a tech. I have friends who, even after witnessing my treatment, still have not had a mammogram. Some are afraid it will hurt, others of what it might find. I think it is important for everyone to see that a mammogram does not have to be scary. While it may not be fun, and admittedly is a cause of much discussion pro and con, I will forever be indebted to that digital machine.