Not long after moving to Atlanta in 1995, Nancy Boozer discovered a lump in her breast. After an MRI, Nancy learned she in fact had lumps in both breasts and immediately opted for a lumpectomy to remove them. Following her surgery, she discovered the lump in the right breast was cancer.
At the time, Nancy had a grown son in the military. She had moved to Atlanta solo, hoping to start a new life, build a home and secure a job as a paralegal. Nancy was completely stunned by her diagnosis.
Following the surgery, Nancy underwent chemotherapy as part of her treatment regime. She began focusing on her recovery, finishing treatment and reentering the workforce when she developed pain in her hip and consulted her Oncologist. A bone scan found cancer.
Nancy immediately began bone treatment, oral therapy and pain management. A second reoccurrence in 2009 has left her disabled and unable to work. Today, Nancy is in remission and although she’s cancer-free, the worry has never left. Nancy continues to deal with high levels of stress from the costs surrounding her multiple cancer diagnosis, the fear of monitoring for a potential reoccurrence and the toll that cancer has taken on her health and mobility.
Through her journey, Nancy found the Cancer Support Community Atlanta (CSC Atlanta) through a brochure in her doctor’s office. She has enjoyed sharing information and resources with others throughout her support group with women who are going through a similar experience. She regularly attends these groups, social events, nutrition classes and has even tried a cooking demonstration. She especially likes that CSC has a metastatic group.
“We can talk about things that regular support groups don’t want to talk about—we can be honest about end of life and sharing stories and fears about the future.”
Despite difficulties, Nancy has found peace through her support system. “I’ve been in the CSC support groups since 1999. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. As much as your friends and family love you, they don’t understand like your support group. I think my support group has attributed to my longevity, the element of staying connected. I’ve heard that people who go to support groups live longer and I’m living proof.”
Nancy is monitoring her health and taking each new challenge as it comes. “I try to avoid anything that’s stressful. I really work to stay in the positive. I get rid of anything negative very, very quickly. I try to be happy every day. I think about the things that I’m grateful for every day. I look at the glass being half full. I realize what I really need in life and what’s important.”
Through her time at CSC Atlanta, Nancy heard about the Breast Cancer M.A.P. Project
and thought it was a great way to share her experience to help other women.
“I thought that sharing my story would really help others. Anything I can do to contribute or if someone can learn from what I did then I’m all for that!”
M.A.P. Project is a movement to identify and address the emotional and social needs that accompany a breast cancer diagnosis. By joining this first-of-its-kind registry and sharing their breast cancer experience, women have a unique opportunity to help researchers better understand the full impact of breast cancer and ultimately discover innovative ways to improve the cancer journey for millions. Initiated by the Cancer Support Community’s Cancer Survivorship Research and Training Institute, the M.A.P. Project is made possible through a generous grant from The Breast Cancer Fund of National Philanthropic Trust. For more information or to join the movement, visit www.breastcancerregistry.org
Cancer Support Community Atlanta is a safe haven for cancer patients and their families and a place where they can find support, companionship, education, and most of all…hope. Cancer patients who come to the Cancer Support Community are referred to as “participants” and are encouraged to fight for their recovery by participating in their treatments. Visit CSC Atlanta’s website
to find out more.
To find a Cancer Support Community affiliate near you, visit www.cancersupportcommunity.org/FindaCommunity