I got the report of breast cancer two weeks before my 37th birthday and I was terrified. I lost my mother to complications of brain cancer three months prior and the thought of me having cancer was overwhelming. Not to mention the onslaught of tests and procedures, receiving a mountain of information about breast cancer, and making important decisions with a clouded mind all contributed to my feelings.

My advice is to take a notebook with you everywhere you go to write questions or concerns that you may want to ask.

It’s also good for keeping things in order when you experience “chemo brain.” The worst part of breast cancer for me was the fear of the unknown. Fear of not knowing if the treatment would do as it was expected to, will the cancer return, or will I even survive this.

Other breast cancer survivors I call “sheros” gave pearls of encouragement and wisdom. My “sheros,” along with family, friends and church members, helped me stay surrounded in my faith and around positive things. I have learned that it is the key factor to improving your health and situation and helped boost my belief that I would make it through.

Tamera D. Gourdine

North Charleston