Renewal: Spring Is Here

by Carolyn Newman on April 6th, 2012
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Welcome again guest blogger Carolyn Newman, breast cancer survivor, lymphedema aficionado and ultimate warrior. Take it away Carolyn!

It has been almost 5 years since radiation. After 6 months of Chemotherapy and a 13-hour double Mastectomy with Tram Flap Reconstruction, I recall being disheartened by the thought of having to have radiation and even more upset that the doctors gave me little choice. Somehow, I thought I would escape it.

Never the less, I completed radiation on March 21, 2007, the first day of spring. A time for renewal.

I sailed through the treatments with little, if any, side effects. Mentally, I was able to go for treatment every day, then go about my day and forget about it all together. Every night, my husband, Steve would go into our garden, pick me some fresh aloe, which I applied to my skin every night. As a result, I suffered no major burns or irritations. I was lucky.

On this leg of my journey, I met so many men and women who were having radiation for a myriad of different cancers. Some for prostate, some for lymphoma, some for throat, some for brain and some for ovarian. It was the first time I got to deal and speak (on a daily basis) with people like me and others not like me. I realized how very fortunate I was. That I was healthy, in shape, happy, and not sick. I realized once again the fragile nature of life and how there was opportunity to celebrate the present and not worry about the future.

I met an 18 year old girl with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma who shared my positive outlook. She and I were able to speak a little every day and I was so grateful to have that time with her. At first I felt sorry for her, because here she was 18 with cancer. She said to me, “I don’t feel sorry for me, I am grateful I got cancer because it taught me so much about life, people and happiness.” I was amazed at her maturity and ability to cope so well and I saw what I see in myself..that a positive, grateful attitude, friendships and love are what get us through this.

The other day my good friend, Jane was commenting on the weather and how gorgeous the days have been here in Florida. She said it’s like High Definition television. That is what Cancer has done for my life. Everything is in High Def. Life is now punctuated with exclamation points.

I recently met with my met with my oncologists for my 3 month check-up. I so look forward to seeing her because I know how well I am doing in large part to her positive attitude, expertise and guidance throughout this entire experience.

Though the harsh realities of 5 years ago are truly over, my medical journey is not over and will continue throughout my lifetime. My spiritual journey continues too. I will always stop and smell the flowers. I will continue to see life as a gift. To see my family and friends as my lifeline, and my inner spirit as my guide. I will help others like me get through their journey, as this is what I feel I need to do. I have been given my life back. When I was first diagnosed, I thought my life was ending. I was wrong. It just had a blip that taught me to be grateful, healthy, spiritual and helpful.

I now understand that when you are faced with a tragedy in life, you have a choice: to find the hero within, or to give up. By choosing to uncover your own courage, strength and determination, you become a role model for others.

Peace and veggies,
Carolyn I. Newman, President,



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