Washington Family Magazine : October 2014
20 October 2014 washingtonFAMILY.com 20 October 2014 washingtonFAMILY.com PATRICK C., ARLINGTON, VA WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? I may have breast cancer, but breast cancer does not have me. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING PEOPLE DID TO HELP? My family and friends provided awesome support by preparing and delivering meals to my home. My best friend prepared my son’s lunch when I had surgery and a family from my son’s class prepared a meal every day for a month for us. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE IN YOUR POSITION? Remember that you are not alone. Many have fought and won this battle like myself. Your doctors, nurses, breast care navigators, and family and friends will embrace you to help you get through this difficult time. Reach out to support groups and other survivors to help encourage you and answer your questions. Survivors may offer advice that your doctor would not. Some of my best advice has come from other survivors. Survivors are individuals who are truly blessed. Lastly, always maintain a positive CAN-DO attitude. You have to believe that you CAN get through the situation. WANDA GARDINER UPPER MARLBORO, MD WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? Remember the show “Ally McBeal” (now I’m showing my age)? Ally would often have a theme song running through her head, depending on the situation. I found myself coming up with “theme” songs during various points of my treatment. In the beginning it was “Put One Foot in Front of the Other” from “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” I’d have my Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’” moments, “Numb” from Usher and, of course, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” from Kelly Clarkson (to name a few). WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST? I was surprised the most by the fact -- the REALITY -- that I could do IT -- whatever “it” was at the moment. Chemo, being bald, double mastectomy, radiation, implants, shots -- that I could and would do what needed to be done to give myself the best chance of staying alive. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING PEOPLE DID TO HELP? The best thing I got from my friends was their time. Sometimes they would just come over and hang out with me on my “cancer couch” in my living room and talk and laugh. Or hang with me while I got chemo. I know they had tons of errands to do, but they genuinely took the time to “be” with me. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? Keep moving forward! Keep a positive attitude. Know cancer may be an episode in your life, but it doesn’t define your life. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING PEOPLE DID TO HELP? Cards, calls, meals—they all showed how much people cared. MARCIA RICHARDS PATRICE GIBSON WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST? How I was able to take strength from other patients who had much more difficult treatment regimens and managed to carry themselves with grace and dignity. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE IN YOUR POSITION? Do not hesitate to seek support services or a trusted ear to discuss how you are feeling. WHAT HAVE YOUR CHILDREN/ FAMILY LEARNED? That we are pretty good in a pinch, and need to do more to assist others in similar situations. I have become a mentor for the hospital to offer support to other males with a similar diagnosis.