I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2007. I talked to my friends in town and with my rural women friends online at Rural Womyn Zone about my experiences of finding information, resources, and travelling to the city for medical care and treatment. Some of them asked if I would be willing to share my experience online so it could be a resource for other rural women.
While I was going through surgery and treatment, I kept a journal part of the time so I would have a place to start if I decided to share some of it in the future. About eleven months after my diagnosis, I went back to the journal and picked out some of the entires to share, and then began to add to it.
What I didn’t write about when I was going through it was the overwhelming anxiety and stress following the initial diagnosis, the immediate pressure to learn enough about breast cancer in the shortest period of time in order to make a decision about what kind of surgery and treatment to have.
The journal begins after treatment with some of the entries I made when I went to the Life Beyond Cancer Retreat at Miraval in December 2007, about six weeks after I finished radiation therapy. After that, I tried to write about some of the information and resources that I discovered that were helpful to me.
More recently I added comments about daily life, because there is “life after cancer,” which includes advocacy for cancer survivors, lifestyle changes, and a developing retrospective view about what I went through that I didn’t know how to talk about at the time.
I made it through surgery and treatment in the city – away from my home. I’m glad that I did it that way at the time. But I’ve also decided that I wouldn’t do it that way again.