Jennifer Carbary



Going through a breast cancer diagnosis (stage 3) and treatment (mastectomy, chemo, radiation, hormone therapy) was almost the easy part — I was surrounded by loving and helpful family and friends, and a coordinated/integrated care team. I had a plan. I had a goal (finish x treatment). And then, I was done. But you’re never done. There’s daily fear of recurrence. Guilt because I know I haven’t made all the lifestyle changes that I “should” make. Loneliness because I missed a year of my social life and people moved on. Shame because I feel like I should have some amazingly positive outlook on life, but I don’t. Connecting with others in the same position has been a lifesaver. I’m finding support through through online communities, in-person support groups, a therapist, and importantly, my Komen 3-Day family. I walked in six 3-Day events, “just because.” Then I was diagnosed. I walked in 2017 during chemo, and in 2018 as a “real” survivor. I couldn’t have done that without the support and love from my 3-Day family. They were there with the hugs, the words of support, and a kick in the butt when I needed it. This year’s event was tough for me physically… On Day 3, after sobbing in a porta-potty during lunch, ashamed that I was being such a baby, I walked out and into a friend who was working route safety. He didn’t ask any questions, but wrapped me in a huge bear hug and just let me cry. Then gave me a pat on the back, and “you got this.” Strength isn’t just about fighting this disease. It’s also about knowing when you need help, when you need a hug, or when you need to cry. I’d love to see more support for survivors AFTER treatment is done. Help survivors understand what they’re feeling is normal, and teach us the tools to get through it.