How the Komen Message Boards Make a Difference
Guest post by Komen Message Boards Moderator Tricia Keegan.
I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer in the summer of 2005. I felt the lump while travelling to a sales conference, and within days, my world fell apart like a house of cards!
The breast cancer had already spread to the lymph nodes under my arm, and I was suddenly facing lots of scientific words I had never heard of before. My state of mind was somewhere between confusion and sheer panic, but I knew I wanted to understand as much as I could about my own diagnosis, so I set out trying to educate myself – as quickly as possible – on this disease and what it would mean to me.
Google was my closest friend in those early weeks as I typed in various words and hungrily tried to understand the various explanations given. I was like a sponge in my search for information. One site in particular came up time and time again – the Susan G. Komen Message Boards.
There were pages and pages of questions and replies from individuals who had gone through the same thing I was going through. Many of the individuals were longtime survivors which inspired me even further as I faced my own diagnosis. I was a little intimidated to post a question, but eventually I found the courage, and was beyond delighted when I logged on later the same day and found eight replies!
I thanked the members, and even began to reply to people myself, some of whom were newly diagnosed and new to the board as I had been previously. Before I knew it, I had made lots of friends. Our close-knit community offered me wonderful support as I received treatment, and before long we affectionately named our haven “Komenville!”
I spent almost two years in active treatment, and when I look back, I can see that my journey would have been much lonelier and more frightening without the Komen Message Boards and the support I found there. I’ve seen many friends finish their treatment and move on, but sadly, there are always new members who have just been diagnosed, posting questions and looking for help and support. With this in mind, I decided I’d like to “pay forward” the help I was given, and offer my knowledge and experience to others, supporting them as I had been supported.
A lot of time has passed since I joined the Komen Message Boards. I celebrated eight years cancer free this summer, and have been a Moderator on the boards for the past few years. Today, there are 24 forums with over 350,000 posts, including some new forums that focus on important topics such as male breast cancer and women with a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
For many people, including myself, the Susan G. Komen Message Boards were vital in getting through a cancer diagnosis, treatment and beyond. If you are newly diagnosed with breast cancer, or have some questions about the disease, I urge you to log in and check it out. I can promise you one thing: there will be lots of replies and plenty of help from all of us who have been there too.
About the author
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.