First of all, I want to welcome you to the first blog installation of the new myvigorlifestyle.com. A lot has changed in my life in the past year. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2011and my friends played such a major part in my recovery that I decided to change myvigorlifestyle.com to an online community and resource for anyone touched by breast cancer.
My goal is to facilitate connections and create friendships between breast cancer survivors, their friends, and their family right here in an online community with an open forum for questions, answers, and words of encouragement.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, doctor’s appointments, lab tests, surgeries and trips to the emergency room became weekly occurrences. Living 3000 miles away from my family and old friends and not having a driver’s license or car left me frustrated and feeling at a loss; I really needed help. My friend Karin, whom I had just met a few months before my diagnosis, surprisingly volunteered to take me to all my appointments! But she did more than that, she held my hand when I was scared or in pain, made me laugh when I wanted to cry, and bought me monkey pajamas!. She even emptied my drains and helped me bathe and get dressed. I honestly don’t know how we could have done this without her.
It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.
Beyond Karin’s help, thanks to social networking, old friends and family members I hadn’t talked to in years reached out to me. I spent many sleepless nights chatting online with old friends and family. I know that I got stronger through my friends support. When so many people told me that I was strong and an inspiration I started to believe them! I know that having a circle of friends to lean on did more than put a smile on my face, it boosted my immunity and lowered my risk of recurrence.
A U.S. study showed that women fighting breast cancer who had 10 or more good friends were four times more likely to win their fight than those who did not. The support of family was proven to help as well. Women with the support of close relatives had a 2½ greater chance of overcoming breast cancer than those who did not. I know the hugs and kisses from my husband and children and the visits from my sister and dad were the best medicine I ever had!
Love is the best medicine. Without love and support, all the pills, radiation and chemotherapy will not be as effective. Anyone can benefit from the love and support of unconditional friendship. If you are battling breast cancer I urge you to reach out to a friend or family member. If you aren’t battling breast cancer, I urge you to reach out to someone who is. Sometimes just a hello can make all the difference. My battle with breast cancer has made me realize, more than ever, the impact of the small and large gestures of friendship and I urge you to take a moment each day to reach out to someone with a hug, phone call, text, or email. We cannot do it alone, you can be the strongest person in the world but without the support of a true friend, that strength will falter.