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"Having joined more than 2 years ago, I was not a newbie at all to cancer. I was 'cured' from Stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma at sweet sixteen, when I literally survived the pity looks & pessimistic comments on what I was going through. Back then, we relied solely on my medical team, having scarce sources to get information & more importantly support. I was alone, surrounded by my loving family and friends.

"As a textbook patient, I was not surprised at all when diagnosed with breast cancer at 37, as a long-term side effect of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. However, the metastatic bonus wasn't expected. The minute I learned it was not stage 1, 2 or 3, but 4 and that there was no stage 5, I calmly refused therapy. But wait! 20 years had passed and I had no idea about the new cancer therapies and for how long they could actually help me. My medical team insisted I do my research for final decision, which I am so thankful that I did listen to. After some gloomy news I received from Dr. Google, I met, a site full of not only up-to-date information on breast cancer and very helpful facts & suggestions (especially for dealing with side effects of each treatment), based on medical proof, but also a virtual sitting room full of ladies from all around the world, offering their support, guided by the site's dedicated moderators. With my past experience as a teen being so lost and alone during my treatment, I immediately hung onto BCO, and with the amazing information & support, I trusted I could give treatment a chance...and here I am, enjoying each day with good quality of life, still.

"My son was a first grader who just started reading when I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Now I am optimistically looking forward to his last year in primary school, which indeed is next year.

"I know I am not alone, I know I can share information, I know I can give & take support, I know breast cancer is not the main part of my life. Scrolling through our threads on our private forum for ladies with metastatic breast cancer & Stage 4 breast cancer, anyone can witness our joyful moments, our will to live our lives, not just our cancer, as long as we can. Thank you BCO for providing this grand opportunity to me, connecting me to such adorable sisters only miles apart."

-- stagefree (Ebru), Istanbul, Turkey, diagnosed at age 37

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