Meet a Breast Cancer Helpline Volunteer: Ellen

Meet a Breast Cancer Helpline Volunteer: Ellen

  1. Why did you decide to be a SHARE Breast Cancer Helpline volunteer?
    After I was diagnosed, I contacted Sharsheret, who was quite helpful at the time. I took their training to be a peer supporter, but as they concentrated on the younger women, they had no one for me to support.  My dear friend Robin Haag, began to volunteer for SHARE, and told me about the organization, so when I retired from full time work, I began to volunteer.

 

  1.   What do you like most about being a Helpline volunteer?
    So far, I love all the people associated with the organization, they are so knowledgeable, kind, and caring.  I love the ability and opportunity to support other women through this journey. When I speak to them initially, they may be anxious, frightened and or emotional. Just being able to provide them with support, encouragement, and resources as needed is very rewarding.

 

  1. When were you diagnosed and what was your diagnosis?
    In December of 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage 1 invasive lobular carcinoma, as well as LCIS.

  

  1. Where are you now, as far as your breast cancer “journey?”
    Thank G-d, I am 5 years post-completion of "active" treatment, and am currently taking Anastrozole daily.

 

  1. In addition to volunteering for SHARE, what else do you do? What do you (or did you) do for work?
    I am a RN with a masters degree in nursing education. This past March, I retired from my position as a Supervisor of Optum's OB Homecare, Telephonic Support team. Not 3 months later, I was invited back in a per diem capacity to orient new clinical staff.  I work about 18 hours/week.

 

  1. What do you do for fun?
    I am an avid reader, love to be out and about, and love getting into trouble with my grandchildren.

 

  1.   What did you learn about yourself while going through your breast cancer experience?
    I learned that even though I was going through this trying experience, it was possible to continue my usual routine.  In fact, it was most helpful to do so.  I found that so many people were so supportive during that time, that I looked for the opportunity to pay it forward.

 

  1. What priorities did you have before and after?
    I don't think my priorities changed, but I did find myself becoming much more "laid back" about everyday annoyances.

 

  1. Any other insights that you want to share?
    When I was working on my Masters degree, someone sent me this: " A teacher is someone who has traveled the road in advance, learned all the hazards and potholes, and then came back to escort others through to the other side."  Now substitute survivor (A term I hate, I much prefer warrior) for teacher.  That is what SHARE is, and I hope I am all about.