Meet a Breast Cancer Helpline Volunteer: Susan

Meet a Breast Cancer Helpline Volunteer: Susan

  1. Why did you decide to be a SHARE Breast Cancer Helpline Volunteer?

I decided to become a SHARE Breast Cancer Helpline Volunteer to reciprocate the warmth and support I received from the breast cancer community.  Along with my physicians and nurses at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center there have been so many survivors and thrivers that have helped me along my breast cancer journey.  It is my turn to pay it forward to the breast cancer community and make a positive impact on other women’s lives.

  1.   What do you like most about being a Helpline Volunteer?

I like to hear and encourage strength in the women that share their stories.  No journey is the same for every woman.  When we hear the words, “You have cancer,” it is something that is so personal.  We think of our friends and family that have heard these exact same words, it brings up so many personal memories. I want women to know it’s okay to be angry and afraid. It’s okay to not feel positive and lucky with their diagnosis. Each of us will and do find the strength to navigate our cancer journey. 

  1. When were you diagnosed and what was your diagnosis? 

I was diagnosed in December 2016 with bilateral ER/PR/HER2+ invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer.

  1. Where are you now, as far as your breast cancer “journey?”

I am proud to say I have completed all my breast cancer treatment treatments (including chemotherapy and radiation), surgeries, and reconstruction.  However, I do have recurrent lingering side effects from surgeries and treatments.

  1. In addition to volunteering for SHARE, what else do you do? What do you (or did you) do for work?

Previous to my diagnosis, I worked throughout the hospital system utilizing my Masters in Hospital Administration.

  1. What do you do for fun?

After the numerous years of cancer defining me, I needed to learn how to have fun again.  My best times are spending time with my family, whether it be FaceTiming my son who is living and working in Europe and spending time with my daughter in NYC.  I like to take walks and explore Manhattan, find healthy recipes to cook, read on my Kindle, and I have just discovered restorative yoga!  I have made it a point to live life one day at a time.

  1.   What did you learn about yourself while going through your breast cancer experience?  

While going through my breast cancer journey, I learned that I am much stronger than I thought!  Along your path some people will opt out of your life.  But that’s okay because your true friends will stay with you, and there is a whole world of new friends waiting for you.  I am a true believer in people who come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

  1. What priorities did you have before and after?

My first priority has been, and always will be, my family.  I am very happy to say that we have become closer, and we laugh so much more!  Giving back to the breast cancer community is a new priority, and one I take very seriously.

  1. Any other insights that you want to share?

Everything happens for a reason, and although this may seem like an experience that you would have never wished upon yourself, new and good people and things will come.  I know how hard it is to believe, but it’s true.