Finding Positives in a Negative – What breast cancer has taught me

17 Nov 2016 by Krystal Barter
Finding Positives in a Negative – What breast cancer has taught me

Pink Hope Outreach Ambassador Kathryn shares her personal experience of finding meaning and the positives from her breast cancer diagnosis.


June 2015 was not a great month for me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on the 15th June 2015 and a week later I met my breast surgeon for the first time. As I walked through his door way he greeted me with “so breast cancer runs in your family” and then when I replied “not that I know of” he told me that I obviously didn’t know much about my family.

I disagreed with him about so many parts of my treatment, but it turns out he was correct about this at least. I have now found other members of my extended family who have had breast cancer. The specialists are yet to confirm whether there is a genetic cause or not.

This week someone talked to me about finding a meaning in all that has happened since June. This is something that is very important to me – I can cope much better with all that has happened if there is some reason and some positive that comes out of it.

Yes I could count the negatives – the surgery to my breast, the side effects of treatment, the emotional and physical effects of instant medical and surgical menopause.

However, it is the positives that I need to be thankful for.

So what are the positives:

  • I have made contact with family that I didn’t know existed.
  • I can help other members of my family by finding out if there is a genetic cause to the breast cancers in the family.
  • I have made friends out of people who otherwise would have remained strangers.
  • I have found Pink Hope and through their Outreach Ambassadors program can help with fund raising and raising awareness of hereditary cancer to other families who may face a similar risk. People who like me had no idea whatsoever that breast and ovarian cancer is a part of their famiy.

This last point is very important to me, as the more people who become aware of their risk, the more people who have the power to make decisions that can change their destiny. The more good that can come out of what was an awful time in my life.

And of course the other thing I have to be truly grateful for is that modern medicine has given me the chance to survive my meeting with cancer and a chance to become involved in this work.


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