Survivor since 2000
I was in denial right up to the point that the surgeon told my husband and me that the biopsy showed that I had Breast cancer. I had a mastectomy, and 10 days later the other breast was removed. My surgeon, being the knowledgeable physician that he was, knew that the type of breast cancer I had could mirror into the other breast so he performed a second biopsy and found cancer there as well.
The process of going through chemotherapy, radiation and reconstructive surgery has been a long road. The people that were most helpful to me were the ones that could acknowledge my feelings and support me in this very difficult journey. It wasn’t helpful to have people minimize those feelings by saying “you’re a survivor, you should be happy that you’re alive”. I never believed that I was going die but I did know I needed support in my healing process.
In 2005 I had the opportunity to attend the “Casting for Recovery” retreat at Powderhorn Guest Ranch near Gunnison. After 2 1⁄2 years from diagnosis I finally found the true support that I needed to move further along in my recovery. I learned how to fly fish, was able to open up with other Breast Cancer Survivors about the pain of going through the process of cancer and to be genuinely treated with dignity and respect by the entire staff.
I will never forget this experience and see it as a turning point in my recovery. I am now a volunteer for the Program and am working with a marvelous group of women here in the Roaring Fork Valley to raise money to support the current three retreats offered in Colorado and working towards raising the funds to add an additional retreat in 2008 so that more survivors can experience this wonderful experience in their healing process.