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Living with Breast Cancer

Living B.C.

If you don't know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let me be among the first to welcome you back from your coma. Life has gone on while you were asleep. All month women have been telling stories of strength, sadness and triumph. The three women whose stories you're about to read ( yours truly included), have experienced a kaleidescope of emotions since being diagnosed with breast cancer. What ties us together is a positive attitude and the fact we want to show others that there is hope after b.c. We hope our stories may help someone else avoid what we went through.

Kristen Rossi, 33, is a beautiful, bright and bubbly mother of an active toddler. She and her husband and son have been living in Skaneateles since the spring of 2005. "I just love it here." Not only is she a busy mom, she has thrown her energies into community life without inhibition. Her kitchen table is awash with seating charts for the Symphony Guild Christmas luncheon, bearing testament to her active support.

Kristen is also a runner, and leads a very active and healthy lifestyle. Last week she began counseling women who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer. Oh, and she had a bilateral mastectomy right before she moved here. A malignant tumor was found during a mammogram while she was still nursing little Will.

Her own mother had breast cancer when she was 32 so Kristen said she always thought she might get it too. She was diagnosed at the same age as her mom. She is a woman with a true sense of style. After she found out chemotherapy would make her hair fall out, she bought a bottle of pink champagne, went to her hairdresser, they toasted to survival, and had her head shaved! "Any ounce of control I could take in the face of that situation was important to me." She decided against reconstructive surgery initially because the healing time would have been much longer. "I needed to heal as soon as possible so I could hold Will, just get my arms around him. It was a decision made with my husband, who has been fantastic through this."

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