After my diagnosis, I pretty much steered clear of any website that made any reference to cancer. In fact, I only read one blog, of a woman who’d struggled through her own diagnosis and treatment a year prior.  Mainly, I like to think I read her site because although I never met her, I considered her like a friend.  I’d started reading her blog years earlier, had seen her little girl grow up, her DIY craft blog turn into a bona fide business.  Maybe the real reason I began to read and re-read (and re-read) her Cancer Chronicles? I loved her attitude, and I knew she had a happy ending.  She’d struggled, she’d shaved her head, she’d been sick, she nearly died on the operating table.  And she made it through!

This is not a medical site.  This is my story.  That’s all it is.  And let’s be honest, it’s a blog.  It’s all true, but I didn’t take a picture of myself when I was wandering around Target, bald, no makeup, with swollen, crusty eyes while I waited to see a nurse about my pink eye.  (Or while I sat, still waiting for her in the clinic, eating most of a bag of twizzlers.  A family size bag.  Don’t judge, I had cancer.)  Some things probably got skimmed over because I didn’t feel like writing, or I didn’t feel like sharing.  It’s cancer, it’s not a picnic.  But I made it through, and I managed to keep a smile on my face (and lipstick on my smile!) through almost all of it.

If you’re struggling with a new breast cancer diagnosis, my heart goes out to you.  I’ll be the first to tell you to stay off the internet when it comes to medical advice.  But if something I say can help you, make you feel better, then please read.  Grab a cup of coffee  and feel free to start at the beginning.  And if you have a question, want to share your story, or just need to chat, please get in touch.

I received so many cards from friends after I’d been diagnosed. Seriously, some of them missed the mark, but I knew it was the thought that counted, and so they were still very special to me.  But there was one card that was especially meaningful to me, from a friend who had been through her own struggle with breast cancer, and I share that sentiment with every newly diagnosed woman I meet.

You’re stronger than you think.  You can do this.