Our Voices: A Blog by Links, Callers and Volunteers

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Monday, April 4, 2011

Breast Cancer For My 26th Birthday

By: Shira Gross of New York City, Sharsheret Caller
On the drive back to Manhattan after an incredible birthday getaway weekend, I received a phone call that would change my life forever. “Your pathology came back positive for Invasive Ductile Carcinoma.” I was diagnosed with breast cancer on my 26th birthday.

That following week was a blur comprised of doctor shopping, crying, reading scary things online, questioning my faith, etc. Before I had a second to breathe, I was at the hospital getting a core guided MRI biopsy of two other “questionable” lumps in both breasts. In my periphery I see the stoic and stoney-eyed technician who immediately became sympathetic when I started to cry. She asked me, "Are you familiar with King Solomon?" She then shared with me a snippet from his life. He wore a ring that said, “this, too, shall pass” and he would look to his ring during tough times. She told me to be brave like King Solomon and that I would get through this.

“This, too, shall pass” really became a mantra for me throughout this experience – despite how clich√© it sounded at the time. I knew I would get through my lumpectomy and return to work just a few days later. I knew I would get through four rounds of chemo and losing my hair and social life, and now I’m even able to go out in my wig and still get approached at a bar and I got promoted at work! And ultimately, after having a change of heart, I knew I would get through my bi-lateral mastectomy and somehow resort back to a somewhat normal life.

I am very grateful for finding Sharsheret and being connected with a peer supporter who I can call with any questions. As a young woman with breast cancer, there were many issues that I faced that I did not feel comfortable speaking about with most people. Fortunately, Sharsheret introduced me to another young woman who provided me with incredible support.

I thank G-d that I caught this myself so early and that I am a survivor! Sometimes we get caught up in challenges and cannot see through, but we can draw strength from knowing that “this, too, shall pass.”


  1. I celebrated my 30th with a cancer diagnosis. My mantra became "Just put one foot in front of the other, one step at a time" That was 12 some years ago and I am still handling this one step at a time.

  2. Dear Shira,

    Thank you for sharing with your Sharsheret friends. Your experience will be the strength for the many others who will come after you.

    May your faith continue to guide you, no matter how wavering it may be at times.

    Warm wishes,

    Ellen McVicker and Nanci Hersh (breast cancer survivor and illustrator of Butterfly Kisses and Wishes on Wings)