Interview with actress Maura Tierney on her breast cancer experience

In the latest edition of Coping with Cancer, the actress Maura Tierney opens up about her breast cancer experience. 

In 2009, the former ER actress, Maura Tierney found a lump in her breast and following a mammogram was diagnosed with cancer. Tierney underwent a mastectomy and then chemotherapy. Interviewed by Jessica Webb, she recounts how shocked and surprised she was to be diagnosed with breast cancer as a young woman.

I was very shocked and surprised because of my age. I’ve since learned that it’s not that shocking; there are plenty of young women diagnosed with breast cancer. The first thing I was thinking was, “I’m so young; this can’t be happening to me.” And I was scared because it was all so unknown.

So many of us can share this same sense of shock and disbelief, whatever our age.  I also identify with what the actress has to say about what the experience has meant to her:

It’s been only two and half years since I finished treatment, so my perspective is still evolving. I have a lot of gratitude, for sure. I’m deeply grateful for my family and for science, technology, and medicine. But I’m still gaining perspective on it all.

Behind these words, we can sense what so many of us have learned…that the end of treatment is not the end of our cancer stories. It takes time to integrate the experience into our lives. It takes time to heal emotionally, spiritually and physically. . I have come to believe that surviving cancer is more complicated than simply being disease free. It is a continual process, which involves taking the best possible care of your health, acknowledging all that has happened and knowing how and when to ask for support. Only then can you start to move forward with your life and uncover a greater purpose and meaning.  Would you agree?