Twenty-two years ago, in January of 1993, Roz Catena was diagnosed with breast cancer. "I was numb and in disbelief. At first I was in denial and thought this can't be me. How can this be happening to me?"
The denial quickly changed to determination as she prepared for the fight of her life. Roz endured eight months of chemo, five years of Tamoxifen and underwent reconstructive surgery in 1998.
Now more than two decades later, she credits her breast cancer journey with setting the tone for the rest of her life. "At the time I did a lot of journaling. I filled notebooks with my daily schedule, as well as my feelings and hopes for the future. Writing my thoughts out on paper after each day helped me to remain focused on my tomorrow."
Roz's breast cancer diagnosis also changed her professional life; exiting the corporate world and going back to school to earn a degree in social work. "Getting sick helped me to discover my true passion of wanting to give back and help others."
It's a practice she carries on today through her volunteer work at the Adelphi Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program. "Helping fellow 'sisters' as they face a breast cancer diagnosis continues to help me heal and move forward."
Roz says of course there are always the WHAT IFS -- "What if the chemo doesn't work? What if the cancer comes back ?" But, just as she has been for the past twenty-two years, Roz is grateful for each day, knowing she never gave up.