Survivor Stories 2013:
How did you first find out you had cancer?
I found out with a mammogram.
How did you react when you heard the news?
I felt disbelief, fear, and emotion.
What course of treatment were you prescribed?
The first time, I had a lumpectomy and radiation. The second time I had a mastectomy. The third time I had a mastectomy, radiation, and chemo.
What most surprised you about your treatment?
That I went through it so well. I wasn’t sick, I didn’t feel tired, and there was no interruption of my business. I also continued my workouts.
What would your advice be to anyone who’s just received a cancer diagnosis?
There are so many new wonderful treatments available, don’t give up and don’t make big changes. Since breast cancer is the only cancer I know, frankly, with all I’ve been through, I would recommend a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I know that’s controversial, but it does give you peace of mind.
How long have you been cancer free?
It is now nine years, but it was 17 years between the first and third bouts of cancer, so one never knows.
What lessons did you learn from the experience?
That mental and physical fitness and strength makes a big difference in your recovery and the treatment phase. And that prevention is the biggest safety factor you have for any illness.
If you could send one message to all the Good Enough Mothers out there – what would it be?
Take care of yourself first, because if you don’t, you’re no good to anyone else.
Dr. Gayle Carson CSP CMC is an author, speaker, coach and consultant. The author of 5 books, she has worked in 50 countries and 49 states and appeared on NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox and in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Newsweek. Her focus now is on boomer women and beyond and showing them how to live regret free.