Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) offers many different services designed to help those who have survived breast cancer but also for those who are newly diagnosed. One of the key factors to understand when someone is diagnosed is that there is no right or wrong way to be a survivor as Taylor Urban explains.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 45 years old. I underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. My cancer was identified in routine mammogram and I had no symptoms or family history,” Urban said.
After her diagnosis, Urban joined Young Survivors in Action, a support group sponsored by DBCC.
“As far as Young Survivors in Action in terms of just helping me heal, it’s connected me with a group of amazing women. I get to do fun things and they understand what I’ve been through more than a lot of other people who haven’t experienced breast cancer can. So that’s been really a supportive and helpful thing for me. But we also do a lot of fun stuff.”
One of Urban’s favorite Young Survivors in Action activities was a wreath making event that was held in November. It was her first October as a breast cancer survivor, so having an event that was fun helped.
“Having gone through my first October as a breast cancer survivor was just a lot. And that event came in November, and it was for the holidays,” Urban said. “It was really great. There were all these beautiful materials for us to work with. And I just connected with a great group of women, and we laughed, and we had fun, and everybody created these beautiful wreaths and I just really enjoyed that event. “
When asked what breast cancer has taught her, Urban replied that it was a tough question to answer.
“I think I’m still learning. I think breast cancer slows you down. You think that you’re young and you’re healthy and these things don’t happen, but they do,” Urban said. “And for me, it really forced me to look at am I doing the things that are the most important for me in my life? Is this the legacy that I want to leave and that’s a heavy thing to think about. But the flip side of it is that it’s helped me reconnect with a lot of things that bring me joy and things that interests me and it’s just kind of helped realign me a little bit. So, I think breast cancer has taught me to just appreciate and value my time now.”
For anyone who has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, Urban’s first piece of advice is just to breathe.
“You know when you first hear those words, it’s a lot and there’s a lot of emotions and everything that come with that. So, I would say just breathe,” Urban said. “Find what fills you up and what recharges you. Practice self-care like it’s your job. Whether it’s music, nature or journaling find what helps. Stay off the internet, for sure. Ignore the stupid things that people say I’m sorry, but sometimes people do say stupid things. Find your people connect with other survivors. So, for me that has really been a game changer. And no matter how much people love you, if they haven’t experienced breast cancer, they just don’t get it the same. So even if your journey is a little bit different than somebody else, connecting with other survivors can really help. And I would say take it one day at a time. You’re going to get through this. There’s a lot of great doctors, there’s a lot of great treatment, but just kind of be where you are and take care of yourself.”
The other advice Urban has for those who are newly diagnosed is to understand that it is okay to be sad and to be angry.
“I think that there’s a lot of hoorah in our in our culture that you have to be strong and you’re a survivor and you got this,” Urban said. “I love it but at the flip side of it, I think sometimes it robs women the permission to feel all the feels that come with being a cancer survivor. You have the right to say why me, you can be angry about it, I’m angry about it. You can be sad and all those things are there and they’re real and it doesn’t make you any less of a warrior. You know, sometimes the bravest thing that you can do is just be real and be where you are and breathe through those emotions. So, I think all of you are warriors out there and you’re all awesome. But just allow yourself the space for all the feelings that come with it. It doesn’t make you any less strong.”
DBCC needs support from the community to continue providing services like those that have helped Urban.
“Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed female cancer in Delaware and throughout the US and the second most common cause of death in the state and across the country,” Francesca Vogel, Chief Executive Officer of DBCC, said. “For these reasons, DBCC works tirelessly to remove barriers to ensure women are screened so that breast cancer is caught in its earliest stages when treatment is more successful. Our dedicated team and volunteers ensure that every woman and man diagnosed who comes through our doors has an immediate support system to help them replace fear and doubt with knowledge, hope and vital resources. We are very grateful that, together, with the community funding support we have received over the past 31 years, we are saving lives! As we enter the holiday season, please recognize that breast cancer continues beyond October and that we cannot accomplish all we do without your much needed support. Please continue to support our mission through your thoughtful donations and make a difference in the lives of Delawareans.”
Vogel stated that anyone can support DBCC with direct donations through the Donate button on their website, through Amazon Smile or by sponsoring an event like the upcoming gala in March 2023.
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