Breast Cancer Survivor Becomes Leader of Science Training Program

Maimah Karmo Health Guide
  • Okay, so you're going through this friggin' thing called breast cancer.  You're pissed, scared, unsure, sick, tired... bald, throwing up... shocked... are there any adjectives left unturned after Little Ms. BC visits our life?  I don't think so. 


    Since I've been diagnosed, a lot has happened. For one, I've become a crazy, wild out activist, reaching out to any and everyone who will listen, talking about young women and breast cancer.  Second, I pretty much KNOW that now, more than ever, the world is my oyster.  If I doubted myself before, to hell with that now, what do I have to lose? I almost lost my life and besides leaving my lovely angel daughter, Noelle, the only other thing I could think of that would have bothered me if I had died was, "this is it?  Is this the best I could have done with my 32 years?" 

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    That was a very frightening thought, that I'd somehow squandered my time, waiting for tomorrow, second-guessing myself and chosing to live practically and not live what I dreamed, after breast cancer showed up in my life, and after I'd kicked her a#$, I thought, why not just do whatever the heck I want?


    Okay, so then came more fear.  I thought to myself, I'm just me.  How can I make a difference?  I'm not a powerful person, I don't know powerful people, I don't have any money. I'm not a health expert, a public speaker or an expert in anything for that matter, except for being a mom... what am I going to do?  Then, I realized that I didn't have to know what to do or how, all that mattered was that I move forward and not, for one second, look back.


    I decided to live, meaning, I'd forge my way forward into the world and take chances, leaping into the DEEP, DARK, ABYSS of my fears and lo and behold, each time, I'd land in a beautiful bed of daisies... go figure?  So, as I stepped out into my new life, like a newborn colt, with my new life legs beneath me, with each step, I was fearful, but my passion for life and learning overcoming all of that.  So, with each step, I got stronger and less fearful, learning along the way that fear is like the Wizard of Oz - seemingly real, but only a thin shroud, hanging between us and limitless possibilities.


    Pulling it aside, my life is so much larger and grander now, I found myself at the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Project LEAD two years ago, taking a course that educates advocates about the science of breast cancer, its pathology, growth, and "how it starts", all the way through how to understand clinical trials and how to become more educated, and to use that education perhaps as a peer reviewer for grants that actually affect the diagnosis, treatments, lifestyle and the lives of others coming down the same path that we had walked before.  How powerful is that?  Using your challenge as a way to help others...  From fear, to education, to empowerment, then become an active advocate, making real change. I'd urge anyone to take this course, particularly survivors and loved ones looking to become an empowered advocate


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    Well, what happened is this, the other day someone was talking to me and saying all these good things about someone and I was multi-tasking and not paying attention at first, and I thought, who are they talking about?  Then she said, "you silly" and I laughed, then I realized, "wow, that is me".  The scared girl who went in for her first chemo infusion had metamorphosed into a strong, confident one, who, no matter what looks to the future, looks forward to change and looks forward to living a life beyond what she can imagine.  It's not that I don't have fears, challenges and doubts, but who cares, I keep moving, as will you, despit them... Who knows? That girl could be and most likely is also YOU!


Published On: March 20, 2009