We talked to Lisa K., one of the volunteers on the breast cancer Helpline, to find out more about her. Here's what she had to say:
Why did you decide to be a SHARE Breast Cancer Helpline volunteer?
I’d reached a point in my life when I wanted to give back. I looked into several organizations before I found SHARE. I liked the idea of being able to talk to people one-on-one and develop a rapport. I've always considered myself introverted, so large group settings are really not my thing. SHARE's Helpline and Peer Support volunteering are a perfect fit for me.
What do you like most about being a Helpline volunteer?
Most of all, I like the people I talk with on the Helpline. Sometimes people just want to talk about their diagnosis or treatment and the anxiety that goes along with it, and that's natural. Once they understand they are not alone, they open up about other aspects of their lives, and it seems to give them a mental break.
When were you diagnosed?
October 31, 2014
What was your diagnosis?
Stage 0, Grade 4, Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Where are you now, as far as your breast cancer “journey?”
My doctors keep a close eye on me. I have the usual anxiety when the tests and scans are in order, but it seems to lessen each time. I really don't think of myself as so much of a survivor, I think that gives cancer too much power over me. I like to say I've experienced cancer. That, for me, puts it in a past tense so I can move forward.
In addition to volunteering for SHARE, what else do you do? What do you (or did you) do for work?
I was a wedding photographer when I was diagnosed and continued on through treatment. After treatment, I took some time off and refocused on what I loved, which is photojournalism. I started volunteering my services for non-government organizations (NGOs) about 18 months ago. In that time, I've traveled to Mexico, Guatemala, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.
What do you do for fun?
I love to hike and do yoga. I can't turn down a chance to listen to live music either.
What did you learn about yourself while going through your breast cancer experience?
That I was far too impatient and judgmental. Every one of us is going through something that no one else can see.
What priorities did you have before and after?
Before cancer I was focused on so many things and so many people that I had no impact on. After cancer, I seem to have a clarity on what matters most and what I need to let go of.
Any other insights that you want to share?
I don't know how insightful this may be. but I love quotes! This is one of my favorites that has become my Mantra.
"It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.”
— Cheryl Strayed