Life As A Co-Survivor

A co-survivor can be anyone who is there for a breast cancer patient through their diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Some examples of co-survivors include: family, friends, spouses, partners, children or co-workers. Remember that as as a co-survivor need support too! Sometimes watching a loved one battling breast cancer is just as scary as going through it yourself. Visit to learn more about how you can be there for a loved one during their time of need. The more you know, the more you can help!

By: Nicole Bozek
May 2016

When I was a kid I used to think that one day I would eventually lose my hair. That one day I would have to wear a wig before I go out in public. That when I was an adult, I would get a big girl bra with my own silicone breast form so the world would never know I only had one breast.

Breast cancer interweaves itself in and out of my childhood memories. I don’t vividly remember the day my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. In fact, I was only four when it happened. Some days I see in my thoughts my mom cheerfully waiting for me on the front school steps where would we walk back home, holding hands, singing songs and picking flowers on our way home. Days where we would walk on the beach, picking up seashells, chasing seagulls and eating ice cream on the pier. Those are the fun memories.


Nicole, her mom and brother.

Other times, I recall the distant memories of my brother, family friends or even neighbors picking me up from school. Each day someone different with a new routine. At home I would find my mom lying in bed, her face more tired, pale and less mom-like then I remembered. I recall wanting her to play with me, to run around and pick flowers in the neighborhood. She was too tired to play. Those days I remember missing the fun mom.

I grew up watching my mom brushing and adjusting her wigs to look just right. I still recall the intense questioning I had as I inspected and prodded the silicone breast form when my mom wasn’t looking. I remember watching my mom struggle to make the breast form sit properly in her bra.

“Breast cancer will always be a part of our stories.”

This year marks the 23rd year anniversary of my mom being a breast cancer survivor. Her brush with cancer over two decades ago has not only shaped her life, but mine as well. Breast cancer will always be a part of our stories. All I have ever known is what it’s like to grow up with my mom having one breast.


Nicole and her mom.


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