, June 11, 2014 | More Post by

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2013 and attended my first BB! support gathering in February. By the time March rolled around, I learned about the 2014 Annual Boober! Retreat to be held in May.  I was hesitant to register, but my new support gathering friends assured me it would be an experience I would not forget.10287026_10204139330509625_3123795754595349414_o

I showed up at the Island Hopper house, renamed “Fantasy Island” for the weekend on May 2nd. I was three and a half weeks post TRAM reconstruction surgery. I only knew one person in my house upon arriving, but when I left on Sunday, I had a family of Boober! sisters. Everyone I was blessed to meet, greeted me with a warm smile and a hug. We were strangers before the weekend, but we had the bond of breast cancer. The sisterhood was instantaneous.

If I could describe my retreat weekend experience in one word, it would be “therapeutic.” Ever since my surgeries, I have struggled – would my body and life would ever feel normal again? This retreat surrounded me with so many strong and encouraging women who provided me with so much love. I met women who were newly diagnosed like me, some who were going through chemo, some who had the same reconstruction surgery as me, and some women who were two to five years post treatment and beyond. I learned that even though it doesn’t feel like it now, it WILL be okay on the other side of the hard times. This was a game changer for me. I met other women who have walked the path that I am on, and though all of our journeys are different, the core is the same. Survival. Fight. Win. Love. Live life to the fullest. It was a true display of our motto to “Live life with an exclamation point! not a period.” I am so glad that I went!

With love, Christy Birgen