2012 survivor profile: Catherine Olsson

"Keep busy, get plenty of rest, do anything

"Keep busy, get plenty of rest, do anything that makes you laugh." - Catherine Olsson

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A loving husband, her two children, family and friends helped Catherine Olsson cope with a Stage 3B breast cancer diagnosis in 2005. Because of the advanced nature of her disease, Olsson had to go through a demanding regime of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and hormone therapy. “I did get through it. I did not realize how resilient I was until I was diagnosed. And here I am 7 years later, cancer free," says the 56- year-old Glen Head resident.

Maintaining a positive outlook and faith helped, as well as having friends around. “It’s may be a cliché, but laughter is the best medicine.” So is keeping an active schedule. “I kept very busy. You have to rest more during treatments, of course, but I tried to continue with my normal activities, and that really did help. Sitting around, you tend to worry,” she notes.

Since recovering, Olsson has been volunteering for the past five years at the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program. She’s on the general Hotline and on a specialty list for callers with specific questions that relate to her type of cancer and related treatments “As a survivor I know how devastating it is to hear ‘you have cancer’.” “It warms my heart when I am able to just listen as well as provide resources.” Olsson lends them not only an ear, but hope.

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