The Courier-Post recently published an article featuring several South Jersey women who made their breast cancer diagnosis a reason to live fuller, creative lives by turning to the arts for enrichment to help them heal.
One of the women featured in the article is Norma E. Roth. She always loved to write, but with three children to take care of and work responsibilities, that passion was pushed aside. It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 at age 41 that her passion for writing gradually returned. Pink Ribbon Journey: Stories From the Heart, now in print, is Roth’s riveting story about the sisterhood of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and the bond they forever share.
“Ironically, I had been enormously reassured, after having genetic testing in a wonderful program at Cooper hospital in 1997,” says Roth of Cherry Hill, who participated in BRCA gene study for Ashkenazi Jews. “I was not a carrier of the mutation and I felt relief that I couldn’t even put into words.”
But that revelation was never presented to be a guarantee that she would not get breast cancer, as Roth was to learn.
After study and deliberation, and despite her early and promising diagnosis, Roth underwent a double mastectomy and immediate reconstruction. It was a bold decision, one she never has regretted.
At the same time she was going through the experience herself, Roth kept thinking about the sisterhood of women who had faced the same diagnosis and of the men and women in the medical community who were there to diagnose, treat and help them to heal physically and emotionally.
And gradually that old passion for writing returned. “I spent about five years talking to those people — survivors, physicians, nurses — and I realized that I needed and wanted to tell these stories. The survivors I approached dug deep into their souls and I felt privileged that they wanted to share them with me.”