October 2, 2019 will be my 15 year anniversary of being told I had breast cancer. I have been blessed to have had these extra 15 years. I knew that if I survived, that the Lord had a plan for me. If I didn’t, I would go to Paradise and see my mother again. Win win situation for me. I survived and what was His plan for me? I waited and waited and finally in July of 2015 a new position was formed especially for me at Austin Cancer Center by one of the partners there. I was going to be the Patient Advocate for ACC. After speaking to the first patient in my new position, I saw the light! How could I talk to these ladies/men and make a strong connection if I hadn’t had breast cancer? When I was told I had cancer, all I knew I could finally get curly hair and insurance would pay for new, larger boobs! Yes they are fake, but my real ones tried to kill me! I borrowed that quote! No curls 🙁 But the best gift I got was to become the Patient Advocate and to be paid to do what was my passion, to help cancer patients. You may be at the stage of experiencing fear and having anxiety, but that can be managed. Fear is a normal response to a threat to us. Facts, knowledge and emotional support you receive from your health care team will help remove your fears. Think back over your life (it took me a while to look back, as I will be 69 this year and I still blame chemo brain for my lapses of memory!) and you will see that everything you have been through, good and bad, has lead up to this very moment for you to be able to handle your diagnosis. I see women come in looking like a scared little girl and often act like it, but once treatment and all procedures are done, a really strong person evolves. That is you! You can do this! One word that is very important for you to remember is: HOPE. Hope means being positive for your future. The more you learn about your treatment plan, the more HOPEFUL you will become. Having HOPE reduces the overwhelming feelings of fear and doubt. You are the top priority in your life and in the care you get from your medical team. Once you are finished with treatments and on the recovery road, take a little time to “pay it forward” You will be the one to ease the fears in others! We all have a story to tell, in no time you will be telling your story to help someone. You are a survivor! Olivia Taylor, Patient Advocate, Austin Cancer Center, Austin, Texas.