‘I Have Never Felt as Energized’ as at LBBC’s Annual Conference

September 19, 2017

Amy Reichbach left her first Living Beyond Breast Cancer conference “hungry for more.” Read her story below and learn more about the 2017 Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference: Sharing Wisdom, Sharing Strength, October 6 to 8 in Memphis, Tennessee.

My first LBBC conference turned me from a “person who had breast cancer” to an advocate.

I’m a Boston-based, divorced, Jewish, lesbian mom and public interest lawyer who was diagnosed with Stage IIB hormone receptor-positive, HER2-positive breast cancer in February 2013, less than 6 months after my then-wife left me for a younger woman. I had a lumpectomy and an axillary node dissection, followed by a single mastectomy and a reduction on the other side less than a month later, on my 40th birthday. I navigated AC chemotherapy with doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan); paclitaxel (Taxol), trastuzumab (Herceptin), radiation, tamoxifen, leuprolide (Lupron) and exemestane (Aromasin), along with reconstruction and several revisions, divorce, dating and full-time work.

When I was discharged from “active treatment,” I panicked. I had stepped off the treatment treadmill and had time to breathe. That’s when it finally hit, all I had been through. Luckily, that’s also when I found LBBC, through Writing the Journey. I don’t even remember where I read about it first, but this writing program helped me begin to reconnect with myself. It was then that I wanted to connect with others who had been through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

I asked a friend of a friend, also a woman who had been diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 40, if she would come with me to Colorado in the fall of 2015 for LBBC’s annual conference. I was awarded a travel grant, and my deeply fulfilling relationship with LBBC conferences was born.

During that conference, I learned about scientific developments related to my particular form of cancer, heard about clinical trials, felt understood in survivorship workshops, and was both energized and soothed through their yoga event, now  called Reach & Raise as the conference closed. I left Colorado hungry for more.

I attended LBBC’s annual conference in Philadelphia a year later as part of the Young Advocate Program. I participated in two days of targeted training with a diverse, inspiring group of young women. In addition to all of the educational, emotionally and mentally supportive programs that inspired me to set modest goals to meditate, find a yoga class, and eat more nutritiously when I got home, I learned to tell my story, to turn my experience with breast cancer into advocacy for myself and other young women who had been diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer or were living with metastatic breast cancer. I have never felt as charged and energized as I did during the LBBC Conference in Philadelphia in the fall of 2016. I learned, I cried, I connected.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the Memphis conference this year because of a family wedding, but wanted to share my own experience with you as a way to say, “Don’t miss out!” 

Join us in Memphis for three days of connection, information and inspiration at the 2017 Living Beyond Breast Cancer Conference: Sharing Wisdom, Sharing Strength.

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