Facing Breast Cancer’s Long Term Side Effects

Two breast cancer survivors turned patient advocates, and an oncology nurse recently led a live chat on managing stress, fear and other difficult emotions.

Christine Hodgdon, one of the inspiring women leading the chat is a stage IV metastatic breast cancer (MBC) thriver who was diagnosed in her 30’s. Prior to her diagnosis, she maintained a very rigid diet and fitness regimen. According to Christine, the lowest point of her breast cancer journey came early when she was first diagnosed with MBC.

Jeanette Stephens-El, another of our brave co-hosts, was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) breast cancer in her 40’s. due to her family history, advised to have a mastectomy. Two of Jeanette’s sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer before her, but she still had hoped that she could escape it. Coming out of her breast cancer battle, Jeanette chose to take her life down a different path and make a stronger commitment to her passions.

Both women experienced personal growth and healing despite their battle against breast cancer, and along with oncology nurse, Dianne Hyman, were able to create a safe space for other women to share their stories. We are very grateful for the support of our chat co-hosts for their leadership and dedication!

 

Christine Hodgdon

christine icon2Christine Hodgdon was diagnosed with de novo metastatic breast cancer (MBC) in April 2015. Christine became involved in the MBC community after attending a Metavivor advocacy event. She became a leadership volunteer for Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Hear My Voice program. She also served as a peer mentor with the Young Survival Coalition and Living Beyond Breast Cancer. Christine has written several articles on metastatic breast cancer. She plans to become an ANGEL advocacy volunteer with the Tigerlily Foundation.

Before cancer, Christine loved to travel and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala. As a conservation biologist, Christine worked to save habitats for endangered species. With her science background, she plans to create a forum for breast cancer patients. It will include information on breast cancer treatments, clinical trials, drugs and therapies.

 

Jeanette Stephens-El

jeanette icon2Jeanette Stephens-El is a breast cancer advocate and thriver. She is also an accomplished author. Jeanette penned her personal breast cancer journey with two books: BCV – Rites of Passage for Breast Cancer Victors (2006) and 10 Tips to Avoid Breast Cancer (Unless it’s in the Genes) (2009), under her pen name Raining Deer.

Jeanette spends countless hours teaching people from underserved communities. She often addresses the importance of early detection, clinical trials, genetic testing, and healthy living. Since 2008, Jeanette has worked with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Philadelphia. In 2017, she led The Oprah Magazine Team in the Avon 39 Walk Against Breast Cancer. Jeanette is a recipient of Barack Obama’s Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

Dianne Hyman

dhyman iconDianne L. Hyman is a certified oncology nurse and the Transition Care Manager at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, NJ, where she helps the newly diagnosed understand and navigate their care and transition between the inpatient and outpatient setting. She is dedicated to promoting early detection and screening for cancer, especially in underserved communities. She has served as an oncology nurse navigator for over 10 years at Cooper. Dianne is a recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Healthcare Champion award. She is a member of Komen Coalition for Hospitals, and the Living Beyond Breast Cancer advisory committee.

In 2001, Dianne created “Sister Will You Help Me?,” a breast cancer support group that welcomes women of color and faith to share their stories and encourage their peers through support and prayer. The group meets monthly in Camden and Willingboro N.J.

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