What I Learned from Breast Cancer
Three strong women, three unique journeys. Excerpts from the essays by our runners-up.
My Third Lung
My new physician entered the room. I told her I had many doctors who had been
poking at me every day. It was getting old. But my new doctor crossed her arms
and looked through me with intensity. She then placed her delicate hands on the
right side of my ribs. I would not deny her this exam. It was important to both
of us. She was my daughter, Morgan. She was 6, and just trying to cope with my
latest bout with breast cancer.
-Laura Walsh Plunkett, 36, Overland Park, KS
The Friend Who Came and Went
"Wanna see my scar?" Shelley asked suddenly.
"I'll show you mine if you show me yours," I answered.
We lifted up our shirts and stared at the mirror images of our mastectomy
scars. Another person might have looked and quickly averted her eyes. But we
knew that our scars deserved more than a fleeting glance. At that moment, we
weren't just looking at each other's scars. We were looking into each other's
-Sheryl Kraft, 53, Wilton, CT
The day of my first chemotherapy treatment arrives. Blatant in my show of false
courage, I put on my red cashmere sweater, brush my long hair until it gleams,
and paint my lips with my favorite Chanel lipstick. I'm going in style. I
wonder how the chemo will affect me. What will it feel like as it courses
through my body? How sick will I be? When will I lose my hair? Will I lose
those 10 extra pounds? I'm about to get all the answers, and then some.
-Nikki Marchesiello, 62, Corte Madera, CA
Comfort for a Cause
For more inspiring stories about breast cancer (including the complete
essays from our runners-up), check out A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer
Survivors. For every copy purchased, the books publisher, Adams Media, will
donate 50 cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Originally published on September 22, 2008
Related content on redbookmag.com