This is a blog about being resilient. About facing down a life threatening illness, in my case breast cancer. The statistics are scary: One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Well, I was one of those one in eight. I was diagnosed in August 2009 at age 50 with Stage 2A breast cancer and tumors in both breasts. My prior mammogram taken just a few months earlier came through with flying colors. I found the large lump during a breast self-examination…in Italy…on a dream trip. Except I had a bad dream in the middle of it.

Once I was diagnosed and I went through my stages of shock, denial, heavy crying, fear the why me? questions and then numbness, I refocused and made a decision that I would face down the cancer and use the experience to rethink my life and what I wanted to do with it. I decided to approach my cancer treatment like undergoing boot camp: tackling the physical and mental challenges that, if approached with a healthy attitude, could make me stronger, leaner, wiser and balanced.

I decided that if I passed through the treatment with success I would serve as an advocate to help other women facing down cancer. Many books I have read refer to the cancer survivor’s special calling. I don’t know whether it is special or just sensitive and sensible. My best cancer advisor outside of the doctors who treated me, was a survivor who shared her experiences with me and gave me a notebook to record my experiences and post my progress, which I did.

In this blog I will share with you my experiences and my handy checklists and tips to help you navigate your own personal cancer journey. All, I ask in return is that you use your experience to do the same….to share your experiences, if you choose, to inspire others. Feel free to comment and post on this blog.

I am a passionate traveler, and I buy guides and download lists of where to go, what to try and what to avoid whenever I plan a trip. My favorite tips come from travelers who have taken the same trip before me. I love real experiences and frank talk, not hype.

So consider GettingThingsOffMyChest your travel guide to help you navigate your journey through the world of breast cancer from a survivor who has been down the same road. It may not be the trip you had wanted to take but I hope I can help make it less bumpy for you.

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