Christine – Fallston, MD
Christine is a scarf recipient and story donor who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at age 28.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that has nothing to do with cancer.
I love horseback riding and have always wanted to own a farm with all the animals you could ever think of! Another fun fact… I really really want to buy the biggest wheelbarrow home depot sells, even though I don’t have any use for it, and no where to store it! Haha It makes me laugh every time I go there!
What brought you hope as you faced cancer?
There were two main things that brought me hope as I faced my breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. The first thing was my AMAZING support system. Friends came out of the woodwork, sent me tons of care packages, and came to almost every one of my chemo appointments to help me get through them! At the end of chemo, my mom and sister threw me a surprise party in the infusion center, complete with sparkling cider! The second thing that brought me hope was meeting other survivors – sometimes in the grocery store, passersby in the mall – no matter where I went with my bald, shiny, head I heard story after story of remission, healthier days ahead and ultimately, hope!
How do you live life over cancer?
I live life over cancer by staying positive, going about my days as routinely as possible, and praying for others I meet along the way. If I can do the things I’ve always done, or I am able to have new and rewarding experiences, then cancer isn’t winning.
How did you become connected with Hope Scarves? Whether you received, sent or donated a Hope Scarf, what did this experience mean to you?
I became connected with Hope Scarves when I met Lara at the YSC conference in Atlanta this year. That moment was one that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. Lara was so positive, so enthusiastic, and FUN that I immediately thought I should adopt her ‘been there, done that, and lived to tell about it” attitude, and that has really helped carry me through the last 11 months and 1 day. (Today is Sept 22 and I finished radiation today!!!!!) The experience of that initial meeting has meant so much to me because it literally made such an impact on me that I decided that day to stay positive and try to bring positivity to others along the way
What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?
I wish that other people knew and understood more about stage IV breast cancer, and the lack of funding for research dedicated to stage IV. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I had no idea what mets was, or what it meant for the people who were facing a mets diagnosis. I think it is an injustice to have a whole month dedicated to breast cancer awareness yet the type of breast cancer with the lowest survival rates also gets the least amount of attention and funding.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend facing cancer?
DEFINITELY DO IT! When I received my hope scarf and I learned how to tie it, my confidence increased tremendously. The hardest time for me was when I started losing my hair and it was patchy. I felt so self conscious and I was worried what other people would be thinking of me. I was honestly so glad to be able to cover my head in a cute way! The other part of receiving the scarf that I loved was getting to know the person who had the scarf before me, their diagnosis, and their words of wisdom.
What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?
My biggest dream has always been to own a horse farm! Hopefully that will come true one day, but if not, I’d settle for just 1 horse! J I’ve made it my goal to get a horse in 2017. Cancer has taught me that life is short, and you better enjoy it while you can!
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
“She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails.” I think this quote applies to my whole life, not just my breast cancer diagnosis. It truly reminds me that sometimes you can’t change the circumstances, or control what happens to you, but you can always control your attitude, outlook, and approach to each situation.
If your friends or family had to describe you in a couple of words, what would those be?
A lot of my friends, nurses and even strangers have been praising me for how positive my attitude has been throughout treatment, so definitely positive! Other than that I think people would describe me as determined, and easy to talk to.
Please share something you learned facing cancer.
By facing cancer, I learned how absolutely wonderful and generous people can be. I’ve learned to be a little more selfless, a little more daring, and a lot more appreciative of those in my life. I know that probably sounds cliché but it is so true that you really can’t take anything for granted and you need to appreciate each and every day you have! I also learned that my friends and family are the BEST, my support system is HUGE and so magnificent. I think the more open I was about my treatments and my feelings the more support I received. It was collective effort to get me through treatment and I couldn’t be more thankful for each and every person who made my experience what it was.