Face of Hope, February 2015 – Suzanne (Louisville, KY)
1 cymbalta generic. How did you become connected with Hope Scarves?
My friend Mo, who’s friend Erica works at Hope Scarves, sent one to me just prior to my staring chemo.
2a. If you received a scarf and story please share how this impacted your healing journey.
I recently returned the Hope Scarf Mo sent me, sending it full circle. This was my power scarf. I wore it any time I needed to draw on the collective strength and courage of the women who wore it before me. I wore it in a TV news interview, to a meeting with my Congressman, and to chemo. I loved being able to send its history on to the next recipient. It feels like I’m part of something larger than myself.
2b. If you shared a scarf with a loved one please share this experience and what it meant to you.
One of my best friends from high school was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months after me. We were like sisters back then and now we are sisters in this. Sending her a Hope Scarf symbolically marked the re-establishment of our close bond.
3. What are the things that provide hope and strength to you throughout your battle?
When diagnosed in January of 2014 I was in the middle of a grassroots campaign here in Kentucky to help people with epilepsy and other conditions access a form of therapeutic hemp oil. It was a challenging campaign since the public and state legislature didn’t know much about the issue at the time. I didn’t know if I could continue that with the challenges of chemotherapy, continuing to work at my job and caring for my son with severe autism and epilepsy. But then I saw Lara McGregor of Hope Scarves and Jill Connely of Jill’s Wish, two young Louisville women with breast cancer living their missions and I realized I could, too. Our law was passed in March. I am grateful to them for living so openly. They made me feel more confident and less alone. As a result, I have chosen to be open about my cancer experience as well.
4. Where are you currently on your cancer journey? Tell us how you are living life over cancer.
I finished major chemo in June 2014 and have Herceptin through March 2015. Once our law passed in Kentucky it was clear that more work needed to be done at the national level. I joined forces with parents of epileptic children in other states to advocate nationally for this treatment. My chemo chair has been my command center where I’ve helped run those efforts. I can have everything I need right there: laptop, phone….and OMG free time to get it all done!
5. What do you wish other people knew about Hope Scarves?
I want them to know Hope Scarves exists, that sending a scarf to a woman with a chemo-treatable cancer is a tangible way of lending support that she’ll always remember.
6. What would you tell someone who is thinking about sending a Hope Scarf to a friend battling cancer?
Do it. It will mean so much to her. We tend to be so afraid prior to beginning chemo because we don’t know what to expect. Hearing from someone on the other side of that journey is such a comfort.
7. What is one of your dreams or goals for the future?
We just put some communication apps on our son’s Ipad. He is twelve but his verbal ability is that of a two and a half year old, though his reading ability is beyond that. I will help him learn to communicate his more complex thoughts in writing, to the best of his ability.
8. What is your favorite inspirational quote or words to live by?
“When you feel you cannot go on you must, not for what you will get but for who you will become.” – Bob Proctor. This quote has been on my refrigerator since I was diagnosed.
9. If your friends or family had to describe you in two words, what would those be?
Passionate and caring, I’m told.
10. Please share something you learned having gone through cancer – either as a survivor or as having a loved one with cancer.
I have never been comfortable asking for help. During cancer treatment I had to depend on others. I am very moved by those who stepped up to help. My husband who took care of everything. My brother-in-law, Stephen, who helped our son maintain a normal schedule when my husband had to work or take me to treatment. My mother, who lives far away, made a special trip to see me and cleaned my entire house. My family and friends, near and far, who gave me encouragement when I needed it. Since I work with children I had to miss six weeks of work so that they would not get me sick. A breast cancer charity helped me compensate for my lost income. I have learned to ask for and accept help.
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