The art of survivorship: A breast cancer survivor’s perspective

People think I’ve gone mad when I tell them that having stage I invasive ductal carcinoma — a type of breast cancer — was really a blessing in disguise. Either that or the chemobrain has completely taken over. But it was through my breast cancer diagnosis in March 2009 that I found my life’s purpose. As a registered nurse, I’ve made a career out of helping people. I’ve been working beside my physician husband, Abdul, for more than 24 years. But my passion is giving back to others through my volunteer work. Today, I am eight years into my breast cancer survivorship, and I consider it an art. I walked that difficult journey with faith, dignity and pride — and I never gave up hope. Ever since, I’ve wanted to encourage other cancer patients to do the same. A desire to give back after breast cancer treatment I knew early on in my cancer journey that I wanted to give back. So, as soon as I finished chemotherapy in July 2010, I started volunteering at MD Anderson in the myCancerConnection Hospitality Center. Every Tuesday morning, I’ve been at the Mays Clinic supporting patients and caregivers by sharing comfort, hope and resources to make their battle a little easier. Over the past seven years, I’ve logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours. I also share hope with patients through myCancerConnection, MD Anderson’s one-on-one program for patients and caregivers. Sometimes, I even share my own story to emphasize how important preventive care is and what a huge difference early detection can make. Staying upbeat during breast cancer treatment Breast cancer also gave...