1. How did you learn that you have cancer? How did you come to terms with your diagnosis?
I was getting 6 months mammograms starting in 2016 at my doctors request because of something observed in Dec 2015. All mammograms in 2016 were fine. I went for 6 month screen in June 2017 and was told there was an issue. I had biopsy in July 2017 and was told I had breast cancer! I was shocked, dismayed, terrified and initially numb. My mom died from stage 4 breast cancer and I was her caregiver for 5 years. Never thought I would develop cancer because I thought I was being aware, and careful with my health and wellness. This diagnosis has taught me many things, and one of the most important is my will to live, change, and cope with life challenges! I am much stronger than I knew. Cancer has changed my life.
2. What surprised you most about your experience with cancer?
I was astonished with how many friends created a circle of caring around me and helped me from diagnosis, treatment, navigating the path of survivorship, and giving me hope that I can overcome this and THRIVE!
3. What did you learn from this experience or what advice do you have that will be helpful for others faced with a similar journey?
I learned I needed to make changes internally and externally to survive this challenge. I continue to make changes on the survivorship pathway. I am now involved in many self-healing activities, and created a workshop series called Artful Meditations, where I use floral creation and other arts and crafts as a way of healing from traumatic events. I did this initially at my kitchen table just trying to give my own self hope. I now offer these workshops to libraries, community centers, senior centers and assisted living and rehab programs. Anywhere the person has experienced a trauma and must find a new way to live and reclaim their life. Artful Meditation Workshops is helping to lead the way.
Author: Jan Gadson Louissaint
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