Breast cancer survivor describes accepting her changing family role

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Being diagnosed with breast cancer usually means that a patient's life undergoes some pretty drastic changes. Besides the experiencing the physical challenges of cancer treatments and breast reconstruction procedures, women often find their position in family and community relationships changing.

Constance Woida, a receptionist at PVPV/Rawlings Elementary School, told the Ponta Vedra Recorder that, at first, she had a very hard time adjusting to the changes that her cancer brought to family life.

"From a mom's point of view, my role is to take care of my family," she explained, quoted by the news source. "My goal was to not freak out my family as much as possible. I just said, 'I can't change it, let's make the best of it.'"

In 2009, Woida found out that she had invasive ductal breast cancer. The disease, caught during a routine mammogram, quickly took over her life. In just a few months, Woida had chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction with implants, all of which left her seriously drained.

This is a common story, one told time and again by the 230,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

However, as Woida told the newspaper, her family's support - which she saw as a role reversal (i.e. them nurturing her) - was what ultimately got her through her recovery.

"I had an absolutely wonderful support system," she explained. "Obviously, it's not a pleasant experience, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been."

This sort of positive mindset is vital for morale during and after cancer treatment. If nothing else, optimism can help survivors and their families stick to treatment schedules, maintain a healthy lifestyle and be thankful for every day they have with each other.

Woida noted that her form of cancer has a high risk of relapse, but that she plans to take things one day at a time.


Steif EM. Cancer survivors find silver lining in fight. Ponta Vedra Recorder. April 12, 2012. Accessed April 13, 2012.

SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Breast. National Cancer Institute. Accessed April 13, 2012.

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