I Have Cancer & This is What I Need You to Know

i have cancer_lynn edwards

The presentation of some evidence-based ideas on the pathway to optimistic care and support of those with advanced breast cancer. By LB Edwards (August 2015)

These ideas are based on the research findings of 3 studies (2 International surveys and one local (SA) qualitative research project):

Count Us, Know Us, (2013). Join Us Advanced Breast Cancer Survey, Harris Interactive,. (Read here.)

•Mayer M., Hunis A., Oratz.R., Glennon, C., Spicer, P., Caplan, E., & Fallowfield, L. (2010). Living with metastatic breast cancer: a global patient survey. Community Oncology. Sept 2010 (406-412)

PLWC Cancer Advocacy Research Project (2014). Pv 41, Pv 58, Pv 130 , Pv 131, Pv 132, Pv 137. PLWC National Photovoice Project: ABC focus Group. Edwards L & Greeff L (Eds.) PLWC CT South Africa. plwc.org.co.za

Breast Cancer Survivor Story: A Friend’s Perspective

My name is Lisa, and I am very proud and blessed to be one of the bloggers in ABC’s advocacy campaign. Today we are meant to be sharing another breast cancer survivor’s story but my special friend who was going to send me her story for publishing today is so immersed in pre-wedding organising chaos that sending me her story must’ve slipped her mind! 🙂

In lieu of that, I thought I would tell you her story from my perspective, as her friend, with the hopes that you will find some value in it. (My recall of some of the important details are unfortunately a bit sketchy because I was living overseas at the time and was only receiving snippets of information via my mom.)

Leila is, through and through, one of the most shiningly beautiful souls I have ever been blessed to know. She is an artist with a special talent for making life beautiful – whether it is a feast of a braai, how she wraps a birthday present or even a ‘how are you’ Whatsapp. She also has an uncanny knack for bringing out the best in others with her gentle heart – yet which emanates a deep-rooted strength I know, while she always was a strong person, was deepened by two parallel situations she fought back against with grace and tenacity: breast cancer and an abusively damaging ‘love’ relationship.

advocates for breast cancer_weddingShe tackled both situations with an attention to beauty, staying creative, as well as a prosaic practicality which, I believe, was what gave her a map to follow when her physical and emotional energy were at their lowest. She got to the top of her ‘insurmountable’ mountain one step at a time, one day at a time. Sometimes she walked alone – which is inevitable when one faces situations which frighten friends and family away. Sometimes she had others of us walk beside her. I don’t know if Leila would have said the same about how having a practical plan with strategic, one-step-at-a-time goals was one of her cancer management tools, but from a friend’s perspective, this is one of the things I learnt from her which helped me turn my own personal tabooed ‘tragedy’ into more of a ‘situation I lived through’ and came out on the other side of stronger, wiser and more compassionate – with both myself, my child, family, friends and strangers.

Thank you, precious friend, for being such a magnificent inspiration and powerhouse of humble, warrioress strength! You are LOVED, cherished and celebrated! May your wedding and marriage be all the blessing you deserve!