“Life is too short to waste any amount of time on wondering what other people think about you. In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn’t have the time to sit around and talk about you. What’s important to me is not others’ opinions of me, but what’s important to me is my opinion of myself.”
Catharina was diagnosed with Breast cancer on 28th December 2007. She has successfully defeated her disease. She is a fitness enthusiast and is living life to the fullest.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 28th of December 2007. I was only 25 years old at the time.”
“Two years before I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was told that I had a hereditary breast cancer genome. I and my husband decided to try to get children so that I could then remove my breasts as a precaution. I was pregnant in the eighth month when I felt a nod in my left chest in the shower.
I had to undergo different examinations and after three weeks I received my diagnosis. Two days after my cancer diagnosis, my daughter was born. About a week later I received my first chemotherapy treatment. I could not remove the chest at once because the tub was so big. They had to shrink it first. After four chemotherapy treatments, I could finally remove the breast. Because I was afraid to get breast cancer in my other chest, I actually chose to also remove the right breast for preventive purposes.
After surgery, I had to undergo four additional treatment tasks. At the end of treatment, I received radiation therapy five days a week for five consecutive weeks. I finished all my treatments nine months after I received my breast cancer diagnosis.”
Motivation to fight cancer
“My family and my newborn daughter!
My family has always been by my side. They have supported, encouraged, listened and gave me a lot of positive energy when I felt the worst. I am extremely happy and grateful that I have been able to share this trip with my family. They have walked beside me in all the difficult times and despair. They’ve believed me even when my faith was the weakest and gave me all their support.“
“The biggest obstacle to me during this trip was that I lost friends that I thought I could trust and which I thought would be by my side.
I also missed the exchange of experiences of someone of the same age when I was only 25 years old when I received my cancer diagnosis. As you probably know, it’s not too common to suffer from breast cancer as young as 25 years old. So it was tough to have no one to talk to who went through the same as me.”
Message to other cancer patients
“Going through a cancer trip is very tough and miserable. Through this disease, I’ve learned who my closest friends are and who I can share. Living with cancer has made me more grateful for life and appreciates all that I have in my life. I feel rich by having a wonderful family, my lovely daughter, my friends, and my nice home. I’m happy and grateful for what I have, although there are of course days I miss my breasts and remind me of what I’ve been through. (I have had a breast reconstruction a number of times but unfortunately they have failed. Therefore, I have to continue my life without any breasts but it is a completely different story)
To all of you who fight: cancer can be overcome! There is a light at the end of the tunnel! Do not shut up all your feelings, talk to your loved ones because I promise that they will make every effort to be on your side. Focus on what makes you feel good and prioritize yourself first. Life goes on and you will see life with completely different eyes.
Feel free to find any association where you can meet people who have been in the same area as you are and where you can exchange experiences with each other. It’s actually not the same to talk to your family. Sometimes you may need to talk to someone who has gone through the same thing and in some way recognizes the feelings that you have.”