I was initially diagnosed with breast cancer on Friday, March 14th, 1997 at 8:50 a.m. PST, while living in Los Angeles, California. It is, clearly, a moment I remember vividly. I was a social worker, and had just begun a deferred goal of taking graduate courses. Cancer was an unwelcome intruder, a burden, and an opportunity to face challenges and new horizons. A lumpectomy, radiation and chemotherapy followed, and life resumed. That is to say, life without treatment resumed. Life never actually stopped, simply continued on in a new reality.
After returning to my hometown of Rochester in 2001 and becoming involved with BCCR, I was not prepared to be told on routine mammogram in 2005 that my cancer had recurred. Mastectomy and aggressive chemotherapy followed that, life continued, and I have treasured every day of life and health since, knowing that the future is not guaranteed. As a case manager of people living with HIV/AIDS, I had been an active advocate for HIV-related legislation, and my transition to breast cancer advocacy was a natural process. I remain a passionate and committed advocate for optimum care, services and research to end cancer in our lifetime.