Monday, November 30, 2015

Had I Known

I recently finished reading this book by Joan Lunden. We both went through our cancer about the same time, but she's a celebrity and I'm not. At first I had no interest in reading it, I really don't know anyone who has read it. If you have also read this I'd appreciate your input.
Of course we have similarities: diagnosed with a terrible disease, survivors of said disease, women with families we love, strong women (that's what I've been called), we went through the same procedures while fighting breast cancer. We were both blessed to only need a lumpectomy, we both maintain positive attitudes.

These are just my quick thoughts about the book:
One of the things I learned was the importance of an ultrasound if you have dense breasts, which I do.
She's a very blessed woman to have such a supportive husband and daughters to stand next to her. My hubby didn't talk with me and would only give me a hug if I asked. He just keeps any and all emotions to himself. I know it was hard for him because he lost his first wife to the same disease. It's hard to talk to anyone who hasn't gone through one else really understands how you feel. You're on drugs. have mood swings you never had before, people don't get it. I didn't need someone with me all the time, but it was nice when a friend stopped during my chemo to visit for a bit. I do have good friends who brought meals, did laundry, took me to doctor appointments, etc. I really appreciated that!
Yes, she was brave to announce her cancer to the world, but since she's in the public eye she really had do it. I think she was VERY brave to pose for a magazine cover bald! I could never have done that, on the other hand she has a make up artist to make her look good and hairstylist to fix her wigs. I'm sure there are days when she didn't wear make up or a wig and just hung out at home. I know there were many days when I just threw on a turban and maybe some mascara (for myself) and was up for 2 hours then slept for 3 and so on for the whole day.
Joan has a lot more money than we do, therefore access to more learned people, a dietitian, healthier food, a wonderful camp her husband runs, and more.
But, there are still things we can do (whether or not you've had cancer):
* exercise
*quit sugar (it's a super food to cancer)
* quit smoking
* drink alcoholic beverages VERY little, if at all
* eat more fruit and veggies (no processed foods)
* find out everything about your test results, just don't settle for 'within range' 
* take charge of your own health
* have a positive attitude
* tell the people you love that you love them

A couple of my favorite quotes from the book:
'You see, every challenge we face in life is really just an obstacle waiting to be turned into an opportunity.'
and regarding the bald photo shoot
'It was important to me to give the thousands of women out there, going through this battle a voice, to show them that just because you loose your hair during chemo, you can still be strong and vibrant and normal.'
Like some other survivors she's said it was a gift, I can't find where she wrote it, but I do remember that statement. I still can't say it was a gift for me....maybe I just don't see it yet....blinded???
Lastly remember fear is:

Yes, I'm glad I read it. 


  1. If it was a gift and that is a big "if" it was the worst one I ever received. Just saying.

  2. That sounds like a great read. I think she was a brave woman to put herself out there like she did, too. It may have educated even one more woman to go for an ultrasound or seek treatment. You are a pretty brave gal yourself. xo Diana

  3. Louis Dean's beloved first wife of 41 years died from breast cancer. I can understand how hard it must be for your husband to have been through that once and then once more with a beloved wife. I had cancer previously (back in 1989) and had to tell Louis Dean about it while we were dating. It was nearly a deal breaker. Cancer is a FAMILY disease I have heard since it affects the whole family. I have a niece dealing with it as well as my Finnish friend, Jutta.
    I have always admired June Lunden but I did not know about her having cancer. I do admit it! I live under a rock!

  4. You did it as well as anyone could!

  5. Sounds like a wonderful book and an inspiration! Have a blessed and beautiful day dear friend, HUGS!

  6. Was Joan Lunden brave for allowing herself to be photographed bald and have that photo published on the cover of a magazine? I don't happen to think so, rather, I think she was honest in the way that she encouraged other women to be (or remain) vigilant on getting breast exams. While I haven't (for the grace of God) experienced cancer myself I have lost my family members to various cancers. Whenever I see, and I want to stress that I haven't experienced cancer myself, a person put an emphasis on the chemo-induced hair loss I keep thinking that hair loss is the least of what a person goes through when going through chemo.
    Your post makes me rejoice in you regaining your health but it also makes me sad that your husband wasn't as supportive to you as he could have been. The journey you went through was YOURS, not his former wife's or what was their relationship. I'm the second wife of a former widower, too, so *that* I have plenty of experience with and can better speak to that.