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Breast Cancer Survivor Advice: Express Yourself!

October 04, 2017

Often we find support, hope, solace and inspiration in the experiences of those who have previously walked the same path we do. 

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For those newly-diagnosed, or struggling with their diagnosis, take heart in the stories and advice of these Hartford HealthCare employees. They truly understand what you’re going through because they’ve gone through it, too.

Name:  Judith Johansen       

Title: Patient Service Coordinator   

Location: MidState Medical Center, Meriden, and Hartford HealthCare Medical Group General Surgery

Age at breast cancer diagnosis: 52

Date of diagnosis: May 2014

What are you hopeful about? I am now a survivor and look forward to so many wonderful things.  My first grandchild was just born and my mom will be celebrating her 85th birthday soon!  I used to worry every day that the cancer would return, but now I think about the cancer less and less.  I occupy my thoughts with plans of spending quality time with family and friends. Staying positive is key!

What’s the best advice you would give a woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer today? Be informed.  It is important to do what’s right for you and try not to compare yourself with others.  Try to stay hopeful but understand you do not have to be upbeat all the time.  I also kept a journal expressing my thoughts when I had no desire to talk.  Always surround yourself with positive people and stay current with your mammograms!

The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute provides the full spectrum of breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up services. Learn more here