The 10Th Annual Conference For Young Woman Affected By Breast Cancer by Sarah

March 3, 2010

Well I made it home. No plane crash or traumatic incident! After not flying for 13 years I was a bit worked up about traveling. Thank goodness for anxiety meds. All aspects of my traveling experience went smoothly (with the exception of an overlooked bottle of cranberry juice in my purse, oops)

The 10Th Annual Conference For Young Women Affected By Breast Cancer was so much fun, I even met two survivors on my plane ride down to Atlanta. We were all in the same row! It was so cool.  I went down a day early and was able to spend time with two of my Hubby’s Sisters. We had a nice girl time. I don’t often get to visit with them without 12 kids running around. 

They kept us very busy at the conference. We had lots of time to network and I met so many wonderful inspiring young women who face the same things I do everyday. Some of us were post treatment and some still in treatment proudly wearing their wigs, hats and scarves. All with bright eyes and beautiful smiles. One of the things I was really looking forward to was meeting some folks I had never met in person. One of the ladies from Mothers With Cancer was there all the way from Canada.  I love Laurie’s writing and I have also read her book Not Done Yet. It is about her journey through cancer diagnosis and treatment. It is a great read and I highly recommend it even if you are not a woman facing breast cancer. I wish I had more time to talk and hang out with her. She is such a great person and I am inspired by her. The first time I saw her she happened to be raising her hand in a lymphedema workshop a few rows back from me. I knew it was her the moment I turned around. When we had a short break I went right over to her and introduced myself to her. She is as wonderful as I thought she was. We found a little time to chat here and there, and I am so happy that I got to meet her face to face.

There were some really good speakers at the conference. Dr Julie Gralow, professor of Medical oncology at the university of Washington school of medicine, Julia H. Rowland PhD from The National Cancer institute, and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. They were very informative speakers and I enjoyed listening to all of these woman speak about cancer and survivorship.

I was able to go to several workshops. I chose workshops on lymphedema, triple negative breast cancer, both of which I found very informative. I was very encouraged to hear about some new drugs that are about to come out that will target triple negative breast cancer. Us triple negative cancer patients do not have any target treatments like most woman do that have hormone receptive cancer or that are HER2+. This is wonderful news for triple negative breast cancer patients. I learned so much new information that I did not know before. One quote I heard during the conference was “Cancer happens to a person not a body part” Sometimes some of us feel like our bodies are treated but our whole person is not treated.

We also had some fun at the conference. I was lucky enough to be traveling with 4 other woman from my support group. We had so much fun hanging out and just having fun. We had lots of opportunities to let loose a bit and have a great time, laughing a just goofing off.

There are so many good things I carried away from the conference. But, best of all was the friendships and camaraderie between breast cancer survivors. There is always a conversation to be had between two breast cancer survivors. We all have our own cancer stories and our own treatment issues that we go through. It was a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by woman that knew about where I have been on my journey through cancer. It’s something that is very hard to put into words, but we all get it. There is always a nod and a Yes! Sometimes we feel alone with our disease, but we all have a very strong common bond. It’s a sisterhood of sorts. I felt bonded with complete strangers I had never met before. I am so glad that I was able to attend this years conference and I am looking forward to going again next year.