Telling our Breast Cancer Stories Makes a Difference
All of our breast cancer stories matter. Let us say that again: Your breast cancer stories matter — they are important, unique, and they will inspire someone if you share them.
Think of all the different things you have experienced. You may have a vivid memory of the emotional day you found out you had breast cancer; many women do. Perhaps the breast cancer stories from your chemotherapy days are the most heart-tugging ones. Or here and now, if it’s years later, the stories of you, gathering annually with your breast cancer community to marvel over how far you have come — those are good ones, too.
Women are storytellers
Historically, women have always played an important role as storytellers — the traditional keepers of the family’s legacy. Women hold our stories, including our breast cancer stories, close to our hearts. Through telling and retelling them, our descendants discover, share, and preserve our family histories — it’s how we identify who we are, across multiple generations.
Storytelling serves another purpose in the present: It connects loved ones emotionally to the things we have in common. Stories allow us to express and explore our values.
What is your family’s connection to breast cancer?
It’s true that many of us are keepers of personal stories of breast cancer. Our aunts, sisters and mothers who have triumphed over breast cancer have taught us how to be resilient and strong. Their breast cancer stories are part of us; sometimes we grew up in homes where breast cancer was always present. Sometimes we watched our parents support a friend or loved one, and learned about coping with disease, and helping our neighbors in need, in the process.
There are sad stories sometimes: Our mothers and grandmothers who suffered with the disease silently; fought through difficult surgeries at a time when medical practices were less refined; or had to wear uncomfortable, makeshift prosthetics after breast cancer — these are our breast cancer stories, too. And of course, we honor and remember the women whose stories ended much too soon.
Make your breast cancer stories the kind that uplift and encourage
Maybe you’re “writing” — living — your breast cancer story right now. If we may, let us encourage you: write a story that uplifts. Focus on the positives — tell about the friends who start a meal-train for you; the family members who help you with your children on days you have chemo. Tell your story as a love-story, where you are the protagonist and the recipient of love, not the victim of breast cancer. We have done our best to collect some breast cancer stories here that do just that: uplift and support you. While the experience of breast cancer does typically have its challenges, in this day and age the stories usually come with a happy ending. We can’t wait to read yours.