womenTALK: Blog

Tuesday, Apr 14th 2009

My Breast Cancer Diagnosis Was an Awakening

authored by Karen Rice

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was like everyone else who thought that it was a death sentence, when it was truly "an awakening." After the words were read, all I wanted to know was, how do I get rid of it? I had surgery right away. I had a radical mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, which I do believe to this day may have been a mistake, because I now live with complications and it's been close to seven years.

A couple of the complications are "Lymphedema" and something that MD's are calling "Neuropathic Pain/Post Mastectomy Pain Syndrome." This pain is with me daily. For awhile, I wasn't so happy with the way my body look around the surgery site, but then I had to remember that there will always be someone worse off than I am. My body changed a little, but so what; I didn't loose any limbs, I only lost pieces of skin.

And even with all the pain I have to live with, "I'm still living," and with that it makes me want to live even more. Each day is a fresh one to me and everything that I view seems new. I came so close to losing it all. I'm now taking each day at a time and trying to change what I did in the past and make it better, because I feel that a renewed life has a purpose and I'm going to live to find out what that is. I've learn not to take life for granted. Many cancer victims are no longer among us, I was one of the blessed and lucky ones and I love sharing my story with others, I want them to know, "you can live after cancer." Life is even better, because you appreciate it more.

Order Karen's book of poems inspired by her struggle with cancer: True Simple Poems of Life, Faith and Survival, available by clicking here.


Oct 14, 2011 01:Oct 1 | Ann said

Breast Cancer Support Gift

I found the perfect gift for my dear friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and wanted to let others know of this remarkable item. It is the new BFFL (Best Friends For Life) bag. Inside the bag are all the items a woman undergoing breast cancer treatment needs. It is ready to go. No shopping around. The bag includes the Axilla Pilla, a heart shapped silky pillow that fits under the arm to provide comfort to the underarm after lymph nodes are tested. Also included is a drain care pouch with instructions, drain sponges, alcohol pads, gloves, paper tape, purell wipes, Carmex lip balm, Allergen eye drops, toothbrushes, Kleenex, fold up water bottle, brush/mirror, fuzzy socks, and more. All these necessities are in one beautiful, reusable bag.

My friend loved it! So much better than flowers, or candy, or a book. Something she could really use. Find it at bfflco.com.

May 12, 2009 16:May 4 | Aqiylah Collins said

Karen, I love your story! Thank you for sharing ...


I love your story! Thank you for sharing the long-term effects of the tough decisions you had to make and how you are coping with them today. We don't often hear that part. My grandmother used to say that it is within the space of the struggle that we grow the most and become most grateful. Your courage inspires me to remember to honor the joyful moments in each day and not take anything for granted.

Peace and be well!

May 25, 2009 14:May 2 | Karen said

You are so welcome Aqiylah! Your grandmother was ...

You are so welcome Aqiylah!

Your grandmother was right, every struggle that you encounter during your life time, will just make you that much stronger to handle the next one.

I too wish you "Peace and Well being"

Karen R.

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