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Cancer Taught Me: Sue Belgrade’s Story

What has Cancer taught me?

What cancer has taught me is that life is unpredictable.  Is it something that one can prepare for?  No.  For me, the biggest lesson was to let things go.  I was a bit of a control junkie.  I accepted that If my house wasn’t cleaned the way I liked it, oh well – it was clean.  Was the laundry done the way I do it?  No, but it was done.  With cancer, the only thing you can control is your attitude.  So I took that and ran with it.  I didn’t ask why me; why not me?  My attitude became, “What do we have to do to beat this?  How do we do it? When can we get started?”  You learn to rely on complete strangers…surgeons, oncologists, chemotherapy nurses, and radiation therapists.  You ask things of family members and friends that you always controlled yourself and are OK with that.

When you are told that there is nothing you can do…I didn’t accept that, I did research (foods to eat, foods to avoid, what helps raise platelet counts, what vitamins to take, etc).  You are your biggest advocate; use that ability to educate yourself…ask questions.

The most important lesson was that this becomes a life-long commitment.  Get rid of the stress, the nonsense in your life.   You don’t just beat it and walk away.  Take control of your health, seek advice, seek support; you are not weak because you do…you are strong because you do.  Embrace the gift of a new life; a life where every day is a gift.  My gift was wrapped in a pink ribbon.

- Sue Belgrade, breast cancer survivor

Cancer Taught Me

Cancer Taught Me

Cancer Taught Me explores the stories of patients who received treatment at Beebe's Tunnell Cancer Center. The stories are in their own words.