Survivor Spotlight: Gail Hibshman

Posted By on June 15th, 2012 at 9:02 am | 34 comments.

“There are only two kinds of women in the world: those who fear breast cancer and those who have it.” … Lt. Van Buren of TV’s Law and Order

In 1999 I fell into both categories. What showed up in my mammogram looked like salt sprinkles which are calcifications. My doctors offered me two choices, a mastectomy or lumpectomy with six weeks of radiation. Then it was time to call my daughter-in-law Heather. Heather said I should get a second opinion. I went to Fox Chase Cancer Center where they strongly recommended the mastectomy. My head was spinning. I didn’t have any knowledge about this so listened to the people who did.

My advice is to always have someone else in the room with you when you’re going to hear about treatment options. I was in a fog but my husband Glenn wrote everything down and read it back to me later. I had the mastectomy and I use a cotton-filled prosthesis. It feels like rice pillows and I’m comfortable with that.

Glenn always made me feel attractive and desirable and that nothing had changed. I don’t know what I would have done if he looked at me differently. My sons were a huge support to me and I can never thank them enough.

I’ve learned these lessons:

Give yourself the gift of savoring the moment. Smell a rose, hug a pet, kiss your husband.

Don’t live in the land of “what if?” because “what if’s” don’t prepare you for the future. Most “what if’s” never happen.

Open yourself up to other women. Their beauty, strength, and caring will lift you up.

I retired from teaching English at Cornwall Lebanon School District in 2003. Now I work with Three Dog Landscaping, a family business. I love reading, taking day trips, and spending time with my 6 year-old granddaughter Molly.

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