Breast Cancer Diagnosis and the Value of Friendship

Denise Gabbard December 10, 2016

When someone we love is diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s scary; we’ve all lost someone to cancer. However, we also know people that have beaten it and are alive and happy. It’s our duty as friends to stand strong, keep them uplifted and show them we believe in hope!

When a Friend Is Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

My friend Allison and I have been best friends since kindergarten; she is the sister I never had. So, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was initially devastated, and then determined to help her fight this horrible disease.

Though breast cancer symptoms are often ignored for too long, that was not the case with Allison. She never had any signs, no lumps or pain in her breasts that would cause her to worry, and no history of cancer in her family.

Allison’s cancer was discovered because of a routine mammogram that likely saved her life.

When she called from her doctor’s office after getting the diagnosis, Allison sounded stunned and angry, sure that the doctor had gotten it wrong.

Decisions to Be Made

Tests pinpointed exact locations and severity, and that alleviated some worries. The treatment recommended was a lumpectomy and radiation therapy. There was no tumor, and it had not advanced. The doctor explained thoroughly and offered that some women opt for mastectomy to ensure the cancer does not return.

Dealing With the Diagnosis

During this process, things are chaotic and thoughts race through your head. Sometimes she’d call me late at night to say I was the best friend ever. Other times she’d text me crazy memes and jokes (yes, jokes!) about breast cancer. Certainly, her diagnosis led to soul-searching, and late nights laughing and crying, often at the same time, and a bottle of wine to numb the emotional pain.

But, once the anger and sadness were poured out in tears, we researched cancer and the treatments, and she decided that a mastectomy was too radical. Then her surgery was scheduled and it was over quickly and without any problems.

She dealt with the radiation therapy like a trooper, though she remained nauseous and fatigued throughout the entire six weeks of treatments.

Post-Cancer Life

It’s been several years, and Allison has devoted part of her life to helping others recently diagnosed with breast cancer after we had joined a cancer support group during the early days of her breast cancer diagnosis.

Allison tells people that I was her rock during the darkest time in her life and that’s why she helps others. She still does not understand that her strength impacted my life as much as hers, and made us both stronger in the process.

Denise Gabbard
I Live For...


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