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Battling cancer can be an isolating, lonely experience, but Margie Cohen says it doesn’t have to be.
“No matter what disease you’re going through, you’re not in it alone,” said Cohen, 68.
Cohen, a Parker resident, self-published “Steps Unknown Never Forgotten,” an autobiographical account of her fight against HER 2 breast cancer and the people she met in chemotherapy who got her through it.
Cohen received her diagnosis in 2016. She couldn’t find any books on HER 2, a rare form of breast cancer caused by a protein in her body. Her oncologist describes it as “a little Ferrari that drives around in your system, dropping seeds that ignite” into cancer cells.
“I said, ‘I’ve always wanted a Ferrari,’” Cohen said, “‘just not one driving around in my body.’”
Unable to find books or online resources from others with HER 2, Cohen decided to journal her thoughts and share them, hopefully with others who are going through the same uncertainty she felt after her diagnosis.
“I started a journal … other people read it and said ‘you ought to publish this,’” Cohen said.
The book includes candid accounts of her treatment, from the side effects she experienced form medication to graphic details of procedures like her breast reconstruction surgery.
“I wanted it to be informative, but I also wanted it to be inspirational,” she said.
One person featured in the book is Aurora resident Debbi Kennedy, 52, who met Cohen and another patient, Brandi Christensen Marrero, when she began chemo in April 2016. The trio quickly became known at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center as the “Three Amigos.”
“We just clicked,” Kennedy said. “We talked the whole three hours.”
Camaraderie helps maintain a positive attitude, something Kennedy and Cohen agreed is vital to beating cancer, but they stressed it takes different forms. Face-to-face companionship isn’t an option for all patients, in which case Kennedy suggested reaching out to specialists, such as those at Rocky Mountain, or social media groups like the Ford Warriors Facebook page.
“There are a lot of resources out there,” Kennedy said, “It’s all about making that first call.”
Whether it’s in person, online or by reading her book, Cohen said she simply hopes that anyone going through what she did after her diagnosis will hold on to one thought.
“The biggest thing to remember,” she said, “is you’re not alone.”
Copies of the book, on sale for $10, are available from Cohen directly at 303-726-5196.
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