I prevent cancer because I see the pain and fear it causes people I care about. I am a clinical psychologist who was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. Up until then, I had worked with several clients with cancer, never thinking that I would be on that side of the fence. I was 45. I had no family history. On the weekend that John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane went down, I spent the day watching and waiting, when my hand brushed against my breast and felt a “bump.” At first I thought it was a hard zit to the left of my right breast. But as the weekend progressed, my uneasiness and dread about the bump multiplied.

On the following Monday, I called my doctor’s office to get a prescription for a mammogram and from there my story unfolded. The anguish and unspoken fear from myself, my partner, Pam, and family members swirled around like a cesspool of death threats and life maiming scenes in my unconscious underground. That is why I fight to prevent cancer. I fight cancer to prevent that surge of fear from harming those I care about.

I see more clients than I used to who are cancer patients because they relate to my personal journey. It is an honor and privilege to work with those who choose me as their personal mental health care provider during their journey. I enjoy being a part of their journey to fight their fear and bring healing to their physical bodies.

The hardest part of this journey for me (and it always has been) is when I am working with a client on other life issues. When we are in the process of bringing healing to childhood trauma, relationship issues or restoring creativity and joy from depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, and in the midst of our work, cancer just rudely knocks down the door and changes everything about the direction we were heading. Those are the hardest times for me because I am already deeply connected to the client’s story. I am invested. I do not have the “luxury” of staying detached. It is at those times that I feel the most intense about cancer. This is why I fight to prevent cancer. I fight cancer to help eradicate its rude bullying that steals the innocence of life right out of you. I fight to prevent cancer because it is an intrusion. I fight cancer because it is unnecessary and there are so many other things that deserve our attention. Cancer is an energy draining attention hog that bullies, kills and frightens people. I fight cancer to prevent that.

I fight cancer because I care.

This post is part of the Prevent Cancer blog carnival.