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The Pink-Link story as published in the Delta Gamma Sorority e-newsletter October 2005

December 8, 2005
by Vicki Channing Tashman

When I pledged Delta Gamma (Phi chapter) in 1977, I never thought that at age 44, I would get breast cancer! I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in February 2004, had my lumpectomy that March, stomached my chemotherapy, tackled my radiation and was cancer free by the beginning of December. I wanted to start 2005 on a new path. My journey with the treatment of breast cancer had ended but little did I know that breast cancer was going to become an integral part of my life.

I thought being a mom of two teenagers was tough. Breast Cancer and its treatment gave me a challenge I was determined to not only overcome, but control. I joined every support group available, went to an acupuncturist regularly, continued working out, playing tennis and diligently kept every doctor's appointment. I documented my ordeal with a scrapbook and I took pictures of everything! I was the only patient taking pictures of myself, my friends, family members and the nurses while receiving chemotherapy. I took pictures of the radiation machine as well as the technicians. I took pictures of all my doctors and my friends who brought dinner for me and my family. And when it was all over, I had a huge party, sushi chef and pianist included.

During my treatment, my oncologist gave me a generic list of side effects for a drug she wanted me to take, but I wanted to know how the drug would affect me specifically, since every cancer is so unique. My oncologist couldn't answer this question. I thought maybe the women from my support group would have experience. But although these women were all honest with each other, going through treatment, comparing wigs, they couldn't answer my question either because they didn't have my type of breast cancer.

And, that's when I recognized a fault in the way that support groups are formed. No one sitting around the table had the same breast cancer that I did. Everyone had different surgeries; some had cancer in their lymph nodes or were going through different chemotherapies as well as radiation. Every woman's Breast Cancer was different, and every woman's treatment for that cancer was her own.

So, I came up with the idea of a central, on-line database of Breast Cancer survivors. These women would complete a form detailing various aspects of their type of cancer. Then, a woman undergoing treatment can search this database and find other women with very similar Breast Cancer issues and connect with them. She would then be able to ask questions specific to her needs and have them answered, honestly, by someone who experienced what she had.

Pink-Link is a non-profit organization founded as an on-line support for women being treated for Breast Cancer. Along with this innovative database, www.Pink-Link.org also has a personal journal system that the patient can use to keep in touch with friends and relatives as well as a planning organizer to help schedule treatments, babysitters, drivers and dinners. Pink-Link is dedicated to fulfilling a need in Breast Cancer support by providing a warm and nurturing on-line environment for those women who need extra support and mentoring.

For more information, you can contact Vicki Channing Tashman (University of Colorado, Phi Chapter) at VTashman@pink-link.org or (310)995-5204.



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