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My Breast Cancer Diagnosis Was an Awakening

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."

Real Women, Real Stories

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.

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2021 (Photo/Mark Emerson)

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