Interviews day 1

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Kirsten makes the final preparations before the interviews

Yesterday we had an amazing start to our study, as we finally got to meet our first two participants at MD Anderson Cancer Center. One phone interview, one face to face – both remarkable and articulate women who have been generous enough to write for us and share openly with us their experiences of breast loss and reconstructrion. It was a joyful and moving occasion.

Breast cancer changes lives, something our two participants confirmed beyond doubt. But they also felt that in many ways life and their close relations had changed for the better, after the inititial shock resulting from the diagnosis had subsided. Serious illness can produce som unexpected positive side effects.

Expressive writing is a therapeutic method that we’re trying out in the study. Participants are asked to write freely for 15-20 minutes, four times in one week, about their deepest thoughts and feelings. We specifically suggest that they explore issues that have arisen in their lives because of breast cancer, but it is ultimately up to the women to decide what to write about.

The first two participants had different experiences with writing but both conclude positively about the process and feel that they have benefited from taking part in our project.

We’re thankful for being given the opportunity to take the project to the US. The staff at MD Anderson Cancer Center have been so generous and accommodating with us.

We’re so grateful for each and every woman who has said yes to taking part in ‘I am not the same’ and do so because they want to help other women with breast cancer. Without them, we are nothing.

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Sunset view from the library at MD Anderson, after a long but fulfilling day

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