Latoya Grindley • Staff Reporter
With the rapid increase of breast cancer throughout the world, it would be far from erroneous to say everyone knows someone who has been affected by the disease.
Breast cancer is impartial to age, status or race and for every person that dies from it, another is diagnosed. However, if you have been diagnosed with the disease, the battle is not lost. Once there is life, there is hope and along with the indomitable fighting spirit, many have survived the vicious disease. And so can you!
Being diagnosed with breast cancer is certainly not an easy pill to swallow, but with the right treatment, encouragement and support, the journey to recovery can be made a lot more manageable emotionally, physically and mentally.
Be inspired by our PINK PAGE, which features words of encouragement from those who have been affected directly or indirectly by breast cancer and continue to press along with hope and optimism.
Athlete, Breast cancer survivor
I was diagnosed on June 25, 2012. I went through a range of emotions. I was shocked, in denial, sad, angry and felt as if I was betrayed.
How did you get through it?
Having my husband by my side helped me to cope. He always knew the right things to say to keep me going. It was also good having my family and friends with me.
Going on the track was also a big part of it as a way for me to try to get away from everything, because no one really knew what was going on. I could just be at the track and just didn't have to talk about it. I am also a very strong believer in my faith, so I always had motivational songs playing. I really prayed a lot, because I believe that God has a purpose for my life, so those were the things that kept me going every day.
Words of encouragement ...
For those who have just been diagnosed and or have been living with breast cancer, I know it is scary to be dealing with it. But I want you to know that life does not end there; you have to always keep fighting, no matter how tough it gets . Don't give up, always keep positive people and things around you. I know the road will get tough at times but just keep one foot in front of the other and keep taking baby steps, as better days will come.
Breast cancer survivor (of four different types of cancer, including breast)
I am really like the face of cancer, I have had four new cancers developed, including breast cancer. I am the only person in the Western hemisphere to have survived more first-time cancers.
For women who have had to remove their breasts or are hesitant about doing it, please remember, we are not our breasts. There will be life after breasts. There is no time to be depressed, just live every day to the fullest. And when there are times when you get bad news which may affect your outlook on life, rely on the support of your friends and family. However, be around the ones that will give you the support without the pity party; you don't want anyone to be feeling sorry for you.
Singer, President of The Reach One Child (ROC) Foundation
In the words of John Diamond: "Cancer is a word, not a sentence." So continue to stay positive and fly like an eagle, soar like doves, because no sickness can hold your mind, spirit down. Remind a friend, a sister, an aunt, your mother, a lover, as well as ourselves to do personal checks because it could save a life. The cost of treating cancer is far more expensive than the cost of good health and early detection, which gives us all a better chance at survival. So I urge everyone to be that rebel for a cause, let's get proactive about our own health and the health of those we love the most - this is why 'me haffi support dis' campaign.
Breast cancer patient
It is really not the end of the road for you, and always remember to put God first. Having a good support system around you is important to get through this trying period, whether it is through family, friends and even church. My husband, my two sons, and other family members have really been a tower of strength for me. You really can't do it alone.
Executive Director,Jamaica Cancer Society
Someone once said, "We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." We cannot control what life throws at us, but we can control how we respond to it. So, trust God wholeheartedly for his healing and restoration, trust the doctors as they administer the best possible health care, and do not lose HOPE as you wait patiently for a positive outcome.
Breast cancer survivor and chair of the breast cancer group - Jamaica Reach to Recovery
We used to think that breast cancer is an automatic death sentence, but when you look around and see how many persons have defeated it, you can do it too. Once you are diagnosed, you feel deflated and lose self-esteem but breasts don't define you as a woman, and once you come to accept this, you are well on your way.
Husband of a cancer survivor
Getting the news was traumatic; it was no less of a feeling as the person diagnosed. It was a shocker when I was told, I was weak! But the truth is, I had to project an image of strength as if I was coping well and that was a challenge in itself.
My wife is a crier and if I started to cry, everything would go downhill. As the man and a husband, I had to take the position of being strong.
How did you deal with a situation that was so unexpected?
It forced me to seek divine guidance and support. It strengthened my spirituality as I explored my spiritual side.
How can men be a valuable support system for their spouses and families through this trying time?
First, recognise that she is going through trauma and as the male you should be there to provide support.
You should ensure that your wife or partner gets comfortable with the fact that she is likely to have her breast(s) removed and that it will not make her any less important to you. This can affect her self-esteem and so assure her that it will not affect anything and if it does, it would likely make the union stronger.
Where children are concerned, as the partner you have to also remember that you play a significant role with supporting the children. They experience shock as well and go through distress, so being there to comfort them is very important.