October 24, 2018
Real Stories

Meet Tamara

I'm Tamara and this is my story...

Life after breast cancer

In 2013, I wrote a “My Life after Breast Cancer”, for CBCN’s Network News Spring 2014. It had been four years since being diagnosed with locally advanced, triple negative breast cancer, three years since the end of treatment. I was cancer-free and well, appreciating my bonus years.

I wrote about my diminishing but lingering fear of recurrence: triple negative breast cancer recurs at a higher rate, and there are still no preventive drugs. Since then I’ve lost friends, including Nadia, a beautiful young woman in Breast Friends, my support group. I’ve watched others deal with the ravages of advancing metastatic disease.

A few months ago I became a senior citizen. When people ask how I feel about it, they seem to expect me to lament getting older. But I’m strong and healthy at 65. The whitening of my hair, the crows’ feet at the corners of my eyes and mouth, and general gravity are a small price for being here when a few years ago, I didn’t know I would be.

"My mantra is still “Carpe diem”, seize the day. My challenge is to have a full life without it being squished, to remember to keep spaces open, to rest and breathe. I don’t take anything for granted."

Breast Friends still meet for breakfasts. Our family has grown to include a fourth generation: granddaughter Vida is now 20 months old and my mom is turning 93.

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