DEAR ABBY: I am 34 years old and coach high school volleyball and basketball. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last November. I had a radical mastectomy on Wednesday, Nov. 20, and was at our green-and-gold basketball game Saturday, Nov. 23. I returned to practice on Monday, Nov. 26. I haven't missed a practice or a basketball game from that time on.
I owe my speedy recovery to the support of my family, friends, players and co-workers. Nothing heals better than love, hope and a purpose. I have found that each good day has turned into a good week. Each good week has turned into a good month, and with God's grace, each good month will turn into a good year and a good lifetime.
My advice to breast cancer victims: Get back to your life as soon as possible. Use your friends for support. Find the best doctors and treatment you can, then find a way to enjoy the life you have been given.
By the end of December, I had played one-on-one basketball and gone bowling and swimming. I constantly looked for ways to challenge myself to be "normal" again. Breast cancer is not a death sentence. As a matter of fact, it has been a wake-up call to life. Even with breast cancer, it's great to be alive. -- MADELYN FLENOR, ALMA, ARK.
DEAR MADELYN: I am printing your letter as an inspiration to other breast cancer survivors. Your letter is truly amazing. However, people must keep in mind that not everyone heals at the same rate, and should give themselves permission to experience their recovery at their own pace. The best of luck to you.