Monday, October 17, 2011

Think Pink: Life After Breast Cancer with Jennifer Haymore

I remember the day Jennifer went public with her diagnosis. I didn't know her, but it didn't matter. Romance Writers are a community, and so it meant, to me, that this was happening to One of Us. I admired her bravery, her humility, and also watched an outpouring of support heading her way. If positive attitude can lick this thing, Jennifer is set.

So I'm so pleased that she's here on the blog today, talking about her experience and what life is like now that the treatments are *mostly* over.

Thank you, Jennifer. For being here, and for offering up a prize of your "cancer book", Confessions of an Improper Bride. We'll pick a winner from the comments - please leave contact info so I can get in touch with the winner.


Life After Breast Cancer

I went public with my breast cancer diagnosis almost a year and a half now. I have to say, the past months have been the most intense, difficult, yet amazing months of my life. Difficult and intense because of the treatments and the overall stress of having cancer. Amazing because I developed a new appreciation for the kindness of human nature. So many people came forward to offer me help, it was incredible. I’m so thankful and appreciative for all the people do for cancer patients out of no more than than the kindness of their hearts. I could not have written CONFESSIONS OF AN IMPROPER BRIDE (which was completed during chemo and radiation) without the support of so many friends, family, and acquaintances.

Now that my treatment is over (except for the drug, Tamoxifen, that I will be taking for another 4.5 years, and the constant check-ups),  I’m trying to get back into life, but I realized long ago that my life is permanently altered--it will be never the same as it was before breast cancer.

Treatment definitely is tough, and chemo is certainly no cakewalk, but for me, the major struggles came afterward. Here I am, technically well but still healing from the physical effects of the drugs, and with a new appreciation for life, family, and friends. Like the heroine in Donna’s HOW A COWBOY STOLE HER HEART, I want to embrace life and live it to the fullest, and I don’t want to think about cancer anymore. Yet the cancer is always there, at the back of my mind. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder if a single cell escaped and is now multiplying like crazy somewhere in my body. That’s a scary thought. Petrifying, at times. And…well, the internet doesn’t help!

Yet I don’t want to live life in terror of recurrence  of cancer. So I fight it. I try to push it to the back of my mind and continue on living my life. That’s the challenge I face every day. But it’s only been a year, after all…and less than a year since the treatment ended. It will get easier--I’m sure of it. In the meantime, I continue to embrace the beauty of life, enjoy my family, and appreciate my career.

For those of you out there who have been a caregiver for someone with cancer, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You are truly the unsung heroes. For those of you struggling with cancer, I wish you the very best, and if you ever need someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on, I’m always here. You can contact me over at my website, jenniferhaymore.com.

Thanks so much, Donna, for having me here!
Leave a comment for a chance to win Jennifer's latest!

21 comments:

  1. Jennifer, thank you for sharing your story with us. I wish you nothing but the best as you continue to fight this disease. Your positive attitude is very inspiring, and I believe it will go a long way towards helping you beat this thing. Take care!

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  2. Jennifer, I salute you and all the other survivors out there. It's through the courage of people like you, and their loved ones, that this disease will one day be beaten. Take care.

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  3. Anonymous1:44 PM

    Jennifer, thank you for sharing. Take care of yourself and keep thinking positive thoughts. All the best to you!

    Michele Payne

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  4. Hi Jennifer. I'm in awe that you wrote a book during your treatment. Thanks for sharing your story and I wish you all the best.

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  5. Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for sharing your inspirational story. And you wrote a book during the treatment? Wow!

    Wishing you all the best for the future!

    Thanks Donna.

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  6. Dear Jennifer

    I'm looking forward to this read. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Tara

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  7. Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story! All the best to you.

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  8. My mother had this disease and I saw what she went through, so I have the utmost admiration for you and how you kept taking one step after the other to get to where you are now. Best wishes and can't wait to read the book!

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  9. Thank you for sharing your story, Jennifer. I have admired you from the first time you gave a presentation about ebooks at LARA. And my admiration for you has grown over the past year and a half. My mom is a breast cancer survior -- times two. She's also amazing! Sending my best wishes to you for continued good health and happiness.

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  10. Sending you hugs, Jennifer!

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  11. Add me to the list of your admirers. My dad went through treatment for another type of cancer and I know how difficult he found concentration and focus. Glad that you are feeling better and totally understand the lurking thoughts. We're here if you ever need to talk too.

    Maria

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  12. Dear Jennifer - thank you for putting your journey into perspective. It's true, nothing is more important than family, true friends, and love, especially when you come face to face with a demon like cancer. I'm amazed you managed to write a single word during your treatment, let alone an entire book. Wow.

    FWIW - I really love your new curlier hairdo. :)

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  13. Let me just say you are awesome! Your post made me cry. So glad to see you are looking forward to a bright future.

    Don't enter me in the giveaway as I have the book already.
    WendyK

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  14. Don't enter me cause I have this book and have already read it. It was absolutely amazing. One of the best historicals I have read. After reading it I was lucky enough to do an interview with Jennifer and that is when I found out that this book was wrote during her treatment. It now has a very special place on my bookshelf because it means the world to me to know that Jennifer is devoted enough to her readers to continue writing when lesser people would have just stopped. I want to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart for doing this and I wish you the very best in the future. God Bless.

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  15. Jennifer, you are awesome. I so enjoy your books. Your thoughts are so true for anyone who has lost a loved one,friend to this dreaded disease. I was a nurse for 21 years,and know it not only effects the person, but also the people around them,their family and friends. I am so glad to learn you are looking forward to a bright future and are cancer free at the moment.I wish you the best.
    AprilR

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  16. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Jennifer. As someone who has been the caretaker of a cancer patient several times, I've seen how everyone forgets what you've been through the moment your hair starts to grow back, so it's good to have a reminder that continued support is important-and also that this IS something you can triumph over! Thank you for being an example of courage and determination.

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  17. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Jen. I think the more we share and air our difficulties the less of a stranglehold they have upon us. You are a strong and brave lady.

    BTW you looked lovely at the recent LARA meeting. I'm looking forward to your talk next month, and am in awe of all that you have accomplished through this recovery stage.

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing your story. You are so right, we need to enjoy each day for the blessing it is, and not lose sight of the important things - family and friends.

    I'm in the middle of Confessions of an Improper Bride right now, so no need to put my name in the hat. It's a wonderful read, and as someone who has trouble writing when absolutely nothing is going on, I applaud you. You are simply amazing, and an inspiration.
    Wishing you continued good health and much success.

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  19. Jennifer you are truly an amazing person not to mention a very giving one. I truly hope everything continues to turn out wonderfully for you and your check ups show nothing there.

    Larena
    lrhubble@q.com

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  20. Lynne Marshall, you're the winner! I'll let Jennifer know and hook you guys up for mailing deets!

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  21. Thanks so much everyone! Your positive thoughts are so sweet, and much appreciated! Congrats to Lynne!
    Hugs,
    Jennifer

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