I am a 2x Cancer Survivor. I had befriended Sally as a Volunteer at a Chemo Center. An unexpected journey started with a single step with comforting, encouraging & kind words…
– Sally Ann Nisberg
There’s nothing fair about breast cancer and no one deserves it.
The reality is, we are immediately afraid, uncertain, and angry toward the unknown. Cancer’s threat is challenging to say the least, yet we all have POWER because we have a CHOICE. In each moment we can choose what we think, what we do!
“I’m afraid”, “I’m stuck” and “I’m going to die” were not going to be on my most played list throughout my treatment as I fought for my life. I’ve sat alongside amazingly strong survivors at radiology clinics, hospital admitting areas, Chemotherapy centers and oncology offices. Every step of treatment, recovery and survival requires tremendous strength. Successfully negotiating the process takes courage, humor and a large measure of patience, starting with some realistic expectations.
It’s not possible to “flip a switch”, heal and immediately live our life at full throttle. Our body and minds need to repair and we have to pace ourselves.
Cancer is Serious, Not Hopeless, I promise.
Our attitude, good or bad, dictates how challenges play out in our lives. I’m sharing my experience, writing this book as part of my commitment to help survivors find threads of strength in life, and a willingness to reach out and ask others for help.
We Breast Cancer alumnae can’t always begin to talk about the “worry” and all that lies deep within our gut below the buzz of fear. There is a little voice that roars in the back of our head from time to time. As a survivor, I hear this voice again and again. It only signals me to work even harder at remaining positive throughout my journey and my life. My hope is that a word, a sentence, a page in this book inspires you, the survivor, caregiver and professional to embrace this very moment, meet the challenge, choose not to suffer and “Live Like Crazy.”
LIFE’s sobering fact is it’s uncertainty and our presence upon this earth is a fleeting thing. I now know, more than ever, how fiercely life’s moments should be treasured.
The sting of learning we have breast cancer in some ways immobilizes us and interferes with our ability to act.
My objective now in writing this book is to help survivors and caregivers discover what is best for them, rather than to validate my own cancer battle and choices.
Every one of us who courageously faces cancer, not only has the ability to live a full life—but also the ability and right to live a life full of meaning.
When diagnosed we are drafted into a space that at times is beyond our control, yet we need to give ourselves permission to be comfortable with the information we gather, the professionals we rely on and the support we receive and the choices we need to make.
Breast cancer was a brief intermission in my life story. I did not allow it to change my theme and with time, to my surprise, I welcome making edits to my life.
It is courage in identifying ourselves, knowing who we are, what we believe in and where we want to go that ultimately delivers clarity and boundless energy in LIVING LIFE, not CHASING IT.
Things happen for a reason. By happenstance, 5000 miles from home on vacation, I crossed paths with Sally Nisberg, who I had an immediate, unexplainable connection to. This beautiful, charismatic woman appeared to have it all! In getting to know her, I was stunned to find that included a ferocious battle with breast cancer. Her smile was blinding and her glass half full attitude was infectious. She laughed often and hard and saw the silver lining in every cloud.
One month later, we would share an awful commonality, cancer! I was thrust into this sisterhood of which I wanted no part. Frightened of the road ahead and what it held for me, Sally was my role model of how to overcome adversity and come out a better person.
She was there for me as though we were lifelong friends, calming my fears and giving me tips from her own firsthand experience. She loaned me a cherished artifact that she held through her own journey .It went with me to every treatment safely tucked away, my secret good luck charm.
It was amazing how, with her busy life, she remembered every chemo appointment that I had. There was a message before and after each one, checking in, cheering me on with a countdown, letting me know she was my prayer warrior. When your world is on hold, it means everything that you are not forgotten. That is how my friend made me feel.
I was cancer free half way through my treatments thanks to God, a terrific medical team and I believe determination. I remember her oh so true words- “It won’t be long before you are looking at this through the rear view mirror- you will turn this setback into a comeback.”
When Sally speaks, I listen!Carol
23,54,66 random numbers but significant to me as they represent the ages of three special people who were diagnosed with cancer that particular year of their life. A daughter who instead of starting grad school began her course of treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma. During her year of chemo and radiation she taught us the caregivers to be strong and positive. We learned a lot about our daughter’s strength and resilience that year.
Approximately fifteen years later another family member this time my sister was presented with what I call the cancer challenge after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Again I found myself a part of the support system and once again I was helped by the strength and courage exemplified by my sister. Her treatment was long and complicated and throughout she accepted what was and believed that she would not only survive but live a very productive life.
Our most recent experience involved my husband who was diagnosed with prostate cancer . He now became a member of the club no one wants to join. Watching the rock of the family now so vulnerable was difficult. It was the support provided by the entire family that helped him on his journey that ended with the words cancer free after surgery.
The journey of each of these cancer survivors has similarities and differences but the one common denominator is family support which without I believe would have made the trip unbearable.Jacqualine
I am so grateful that I was able to connect with Sally and share my journey with her. I had such a positive experience, which in turn, empowered Sally to seek the same. I am so glad that in this sharing, Sally was able to “live life like crazy,” again! She is truly as beautiful on the inside, as she is on the outside.Paula
From a serendipitous meeting to a lasting friendship with Sally Ann, through her 5 and my 15 year journey to wellness, has been an incomparable gift of listening, learning, laughter and lots of fun. My gratitude and love to her and our Higher Power.Bernie
My connection with you through my personal journey began last year when we reconnected our friendship. For me, it was through our conversations – learning about all that you had gone through and me sharing my daughter’s journey as well as where I was at on my own, that reinforced my decision to be proactive in dealing with my BRCA 1 status. You provided me with the name of your PS and introduced me to a friend who had also been through a mastectomy and reconstruction. Playing “show and tell,” actually being able to see what you as well as other women looked like after the surgeries was both instrumental and inspiring in helping me go ahead with making the decisions I needed to make and to following my own path. It is my now my turn to pass it forward and to provide others with the knowledge and support they need to forge their own paths. Each one, teach one. We are stronger together.Annie