Opening up to others, especially those who understand the situation, can be vital for breast cancer patients.
Robyn Chambers of Flowery Branch needed the encouragement and listening ear when she was diagnosed at 47 years old in 2013.
“The reason I wanted to go to a group for support was because I felt lost,” Chambers said. “I needed someone who was going through what I was going through. I have had friends who have gone through breast cancer, but I needed to talk to someone who was going through it right then.”
Chambers said her journey began the summer of 2012, when she went for a mammogram and checkup. Though “everything was fine” at the time, in December 2012 she found a lump.
“I went straight to the doctor, and the doctor didn’t seem to be worried. Then in January, I went to the surgeon and she did not seem to be worried either, but we did the biopsy,” Chambers said. “That was on a Wednesday, and two days later I went back and she told me it was cancer.”
Since Chambers’s cancer was “fed from estrogen,” she decided to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction.
“I got started with that process in January, and my lymph nodes and margins were clean. I had my surgery March 4, and then I started the reconstruction process,” Chambers said. “I went to see my oncologist, and he told me that if I had four rounds of chemo that that would lower my rate for recurrence, so I did that. I started that in April, and I still proceeded with reconstruction. My four rounds of chemo — I lost my hair. He finished my reconstruction in July, and I went back to work in August.”
Chambers said being diagnosed with breast cancer made her “feel sad and very emotional.”
“It has changed my life,” she said. “It was by the grace of God and so many prayer warriors that I was able to get up every morning, and of course the love of my husband and children. It is devastating and hard.”
During that time, Chambers reached out to a support group.
“The ladies that I found, they were wonderful women who told me their stories and supported me with what I was going through, but they had just lost so many members,” Chambers said. “I went, I met friends, but it wasn’t what I needed.”
The women had been through the process, but Chambers felt she needed to hear from someone in the same place as she was.
Chambers said she needed “to hear from someone who had a bilateral mastectomy.”
“I have several friends who had gone through that, but if I had a woman who was going through it at the same time I was, that would have been a wealth of information for me,” she said. “That is what I was looking for so we could go through it together.”
She found that woman, and a core support group of friends, at an Amy Grant music video filming.
“The whole video consists of breast cancer survivors. I had met someone who had gone through the same thing as me, and we became very close friends,” Chambers said. “I needed someone who understood how I was feeling at the time, because I was broken and I needed someone to talk to — someone to say things out loud to.”
Chambers said she “would encourage anyone going through breast cancer to reach out and look for someone who has been through it or is going through, and talk to them.”