You Had Breast Cancer And I Am So Mad At You

In Dealing with Medical Industry Issues by Barbara Jacoby

Can you imagine someone saying something like that or thinking like that? Well, I must admit that that is exactly the way that I felt and thought about one of the sweetest ladies that you could ever meet and know. Her name was Diane. Notice that I said her name “was” Diane. Yes, Diane has passed away from her metastatic breast cancer but that is far from the whole story.

“Diane’s choices did have a special impact on me as she was the first woman I actually knew during the time that she was dealing with breast cancer.”Barbara Jacoby

I originally met Diane through a really good friend and we reconnected many years after our original meeting. At that time, Diane had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor advised her to have the cancer removed immediately from her breast and have a mastectomy but she refused. You see, Diane had chosen to keep her breast and continue to live – or die – that way. It was more important to her to live without the surgery scars and no breasts than to live without the cancer.

I don’t understand this and I never will. Here is a woman who worked a full-time job and then spent her free time working with the group in her area who was helping women who were breast cancer survivors. One of her favorite projects was to help with gathering items for and assembling gift baskets that were given to those who had gone through surgeries and other treatments following a breast cancer diagnosis.

After her diagnosis, Diane received chemotherapy and radiation treatments but her cancer spread from her breast to other parts of her body. And when the chemotherapy stopped working, she became a participant in various clinical trials until she just decided to quit all treatment. She wanted to move back home which was in another State to be with her family and spend as much time with her grandchildren until she died. She lived for just under a year this way.

I can’t begin to understand Diane’s choices but I do accept the fact that it was her choice to live her life as she wanted. But, she had a husband and children and for some reason I see her choices to be very selfish under such circumstances.

I suppose that what made me so mad about this situation was that I knew that there were so many other women who were also diagnosed with breast cancer and they gave up their breasts and anything else that they needed to give up in order to keep living. They were driven to do everything possible so that they could see their children graduate from school and get married and be able to watch their grandchild grow up.

Diane’s choices did have a special impact on me as she was the first woman I actually knew during the time that she was dealing with breast cancer. As a result, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was the first to have the double mastectomy at my doctor’s recommendation after a second diagnosis.

I also feel a very special interest in and connection to those who are dealing with metastatic breast cancer because I know how much they have already given up in their quest to keep on living. I may be angry at Diane for the choices that she made about her own life but she is the catalyst for my every effort to help others dealing with advanced breast cancer.