Several weeks ago, my husband mentioned to me that a customer of his and he were discussing breast cancer. He was telling Barb (not her real name) how I demanded “positivity” from the very beginning of my journey through breast cancer and how that very “positivity” has helped me both emotionally and physically. Some relationships have had to come to an end as I chose to concentrate my energies on healing rather than trying to explain my choices to those who would badger and question them, insinuating that I was making the wrong choice. No one was going to take away my positive and thankful attitude – no one, even if I ended up with only my children and my husband as my support group!
Barb loved my story, as told by my husband, and asked if she could share it with people whom she visits as an American Cancer Society Volunteer. Of course, Harry said, “Yes.” Barb ran out to her car, returning to Harry’s office with a plastic organizer from the American Cancer Society. She explained to Harry that she gives these organizers away to cancer patients to help them with organizing their important health information and the next time she stops by his office, she is going to leave one for me along with a form for the next Relay for Life, in our area. “Susan will be among our honored guests of Breast Cancer Survivors!”
One week later, I opened my very own organizer finding the local Race for Life form to fill out and mail back to her for my participation as a survivor. I had, however, hoped that there might have been a phone number or email address so that I could contact Barb, to thank her and ask her some of the mounting questions I had about volunteering with the ACS. Since the only way of contacting her was the ancient service of “snail mail,” I went directly to the American Cancer Society’s website where I searched for volunteer opportunities and signed up. There was, however, a slight problem. When asked if and when I ever had cancer there were scroll-downs to choose the dates, but the most recent year was 2010, nothing more recent. Why? Why did they not have this current year, 2013, as an option? Since I could not give the correct year of my diagnosis and treatment, I chose the year that was the next best, only option, 2010.
I have yet to hear back from the ACS, and that’s probably a good thing since I am not finished with all of my surgeries; yet, I wanted to get a jump-start with volunteer orientation and training. I consider myself very fortunate with the outcome of the type of cancer I had and especially that I do not have to undergo chemo nor radiation.
Volunteering, for me, will be a way to pay-it-back for my good fortune and hopefully, be of solace, support and strength for another who is going through this fight.
I always wanted to be a cheerleader!