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Breast Cancer Survivor Volunteer – Judy

Judy, a volunteer for the Survivors Helping Survivors program.
Judy, a volunteer for the
Survivors Helping Survivors

I have worked as a civilian with the US Army since 1972, and my current position is the Executive Officer of the US Army Developmental Test Command located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. My hobbies include reading, jogging, and practicing yoga. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31 and had a partial mastectomy with radiation treatments.

What helped me cope through my survivor journey the most was always remembering these words from my very wise dad "if you think you are bad off, just look around - there is always someone who is worse."

Being a breast cancer survivor has taught me to appreciate each day and help those along the way.

I volunteer to support those patients who are currently undergoing surgery and treatment. I distinctly remember my anxieties and fears when I was first diagnosed – I had just had a complete hysterectomy – so I felt as if my world was beginning to end. My lowest point was when I was wheeled into the Radiation Oncology Department and left in the hallway to await my consultation appointment. I had never felt that frightened or that alone. I was sobbing uncontrollably when one of the nurses asked how she could help. I will never forget her kindness and compassion – she seemed like an angel sent to me when I wasn't able to hold it together any longer. Jennifer Bucholtz was my angel that day, and the impact she had on me was overwhelming – we talked and talked and talked about positive energy and the importance of taking one step at a time. In my role as a survivor volunteer, I am now able to give back some of that wonderful support and compassion that was so kindly given to me.

One piece of advice I would give to a newly diagnosed woman would be: Learn all you need to know about your diagnosis and treatment, but don't let it overwhelm you! Focus on the positive aspects of your life and surround yourself with the people and things that you love. Life is too short for negativity!


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