**The following post is a part of our blog series that we will do each month as a part of our cancer observance mission information. These courageous cancer survivors are sharing their story…..the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. But the great news, thanks to the work of the American Cancer Society, they are with us today and we hope these stories provide inspiration to all who read them. This month’s post is by Survivor and Voice of Hope Bess Willfong.
While my husband was dying of a rare form of cancer, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since my father had died from breast cancer, I was urged to get a double mastectomy. I was determined not to let my diagnosis define me, and I had to constantly remind myself that cancer is not who I am. Luckily, I quickly found refuge with the American Cancer Society.
As soon as I returned home from the breast surgeon, I went to the American Cancer Society website where I found more support and information than I could ever imagine. Who knew everything I wanted to know and more was all in one place. I discovered I could have a surgery called DIEP Flap. This surgery transfers tissue from the abdomen and creates new, real breasts. I also discovered a national law exists that requires insurance companies to cover all types of reconstructive breast surgeries.
On the ACS website, I also discovered that anyone can talk to cancer specialists any time of the day or night. They are there for you always — every single minute of the day — to give you answers and to give you HOPE … for those fighting cancer and
for caregivers. If they don’t know the answer, they find it for you. What a gift. The days after Andrew’s passing were grueling. I had to be strong as I battled through chemotherapy and then radiation. I had another surgery after all of this, and then I realized something: I got to live. I share my story to give you hope and support. I’ve decided to make it part of my life to empower others who are affected by cancer. I volunteer at her local Hope Lodge, was a 2021 Ambassador of Hope through ACS, am involved in ACS-CAN and
have a voice in legislation. I want to enlighten and empower both cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers.
There is always HOPE.