Thanksgiving Turkey

It’s turkey time again! I don’t eat the bird anymore. Perhaps it’s because after my bout with breast cancer, I lost my appetite for the flying creature. For me, the holiday turkey became analogous to my breast cancer experience. I felt like I was THE Thanksgiving Turkey of 2009 - cut, seasoned, stuffed, and carved.

My breast cancer ordeal began in April of 2009. Shortly after my diagnosis, I underwent a prophylactic mastectomy at Memorial Sloan Kettering followed by a powerful chemotherapy combination. On my first day of chemo, as I sat anxiously in the waiting room, I struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me who turned out to be Sharsheret’s Founder Rochelle Shoretz. After speaking with her briefly, I no longer thought of my situation and myself, but of her strength and resolute courage to face down breast cancer.

My reconstruction and oophorectomy surgeries were simultaneously done days before Thanksgiving, which truly marked the end of my cancer treatment and recovery. I was finished with my surgeries and therapies and hopefully cancer-free. My 43-year-old body and mind had taken a beating over the course of 7 months, but my spirit was never broken. I was truly thankful to be with everyone who loved me.

And so, Thanksgiving took on a new meaning for me. It became a time to reflect on the things I was grateful for - like surviving breast cancer. It was a time to give thanks, not just for the obvious, but for the thousands of fortunate moments, the multitude of blessings, the doctors and nurses at MSK, and the incredible love and support of family, friends, and community during my personal journey.  Ironically, two years to the date, I am the Thanksgiving turkey once again! My new incisions and stitches from nipple reconstruction are a reminder of the past and all that I am grateful for - two years clean and cancer-free! 

I recently met Rochelle again at an event.  I was so happy to see her and know that she was well.  I am now thrilled to be a peer supporter in Sharsheret’s national network and provide support to other women. I want to inspire women with breast cancer like Rochelle unknowingly did for me during my crisis.

Marla's Blog

Beautiful piece.  So glad to know you.  Your spirit certainly did shine throughout your ordeal.  I remembered marvelling at your energy and will to run despite the chemo!  You will help so many women, I am sure.


Sorry, but I am a native

Sorry, but I am a native Spanish spekar, so my commen t will be in Spanish, is better for me.- I hope you understand me.-


Mi nombre es Susana Steinberg, tengo 52 años, vivo en Uruguay, South América.- A los 49 años me detectaron que soy BRCA1 positiva, soy de religión  judía Azshkenasi, y no desarrollé cáncer.- Inmediatamente me extirparon ambos ovarios, tengo 2 hijos, y no ameritaba correr riesgos al respecto.- En agosto de 2011 fui al MSKCC de N.York, para realizar una consulta sobre mi situación.- Me aconsejaron realizar una masectomía total, con reconstrucción simultánea.- El riesgo de contraer cáncer ,era muy alto.- Me operé allí, los médicos , nurse, todo el equipo médico fue de una calidéz humana muy grande.- Me reencontré en N.york con un familiar mío, que pasó por la misma situación que yo, a la cual agradezco enormemente, Tobe.- Me sentí apoyada y contenida por ella en todo el proceso.- Hoy, a 3 meses de la operación, tengo una vida plena, normal, puedo disfrutar de la vida, y valoro enormemente la oportunidad que tuve, la excelencia médica, los amigos y familiares que me ayudaron animicamente.- Es muy importante informarse al respecto, saber que no sos la única persona que vive esta situación, y que siempre hay una solución.- Felicito a Sharsheret, Tobe, muchas gracias por hacerme llegar toda la información que esta Institución nos brinda.- Cordialmente, Susana Steinberg


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