5 Lessons I Learned from having Breast Cancer

Guest blog post from the Sunshine Survivor:  Annie Mattil Coyne

Annie with daughter Kelsey during Chemotherapy Treatments

One-It is what it is.
Whether the Doctor tells you that you have 6 months to live or they tell you that with surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, you have a chance to survive. It is ultimately your choice how you deal with it. You can make it the most miserable time of your life or you can embrace the awareness of how precious life really is. I personally chose the high road. My statistics were not great with stage 3 breast cancer. I had a nine month old daughter and I made the decision to fight this in the most positive way I could. I took time for me, to learn how my body dealt with stress, and worked really hard to teach my body and mind to connect in a positive way. Two mastectomies, chemotherapy,radiation, and lots of inner therapy work, fourteen years later I am cancer free today. Hard work pays off.

Two- People have different reactions to illness.
Some of the most loving friends I have, were not really present during my treatments. While others were there with me through it all. I learned that for some people it is to painful for them to see someone they care about struggling through illness. It is not because they do not care, I think sometimes they distance themselves to protect themselves in case something happens, the pain won’t be so bad. They really don’t know what to do. Just being there for the person is what you need to do…just let them know you are there.

Three-When you are a survivor, from anything, your life is never the same again.
It changes you as a person. There are people who will go back to their old life and act like nothing happened…but it is always there. I felt renewed, reborn, blessed. I felt like I was here for a purpose. I found that purpose opening my own hair salon and specializing in selling wigs to cancer patients. I opened my salon one year to the date of my diagnosis. I meet people in their first stages of their journey.I encourage them to be positive and to stay strong and to take charge of their illness. I share my story. No matter how bad your situation, I believe everyone has a purpose. Sometimes you don’t even know you’re purpose. I have a good friend who has been chasing hers, and recently I told her that she has written a book of her life experiences, she has a talk blog radio station connecting great people, I believe she is present in her purpose.She just didn’t know it.

Four- Society is so hung up on body image.
I had reconstruction with my mastectomies, but I never added anything to the breast tissue, so I just have scars. I never realized how much our society focuses on breast until you don’t have them. I have had moments where I have really felt the loss. I tried to explain to my husband when we were on vacation and the resort allowed women to go topless that I felt like it was like bringing someone without legs to a road race. I know that sounds shallow but I really felt the emotional pain. A body part is a body part. I do not dwell on it and I admire women that choose no reconstruction at all.

Five- Society does not like to talk about death.
Let’s face it, we are all going to die sometime. But none one wants to mention it. I have lost a few friends from cancer and when they found out that there was not much more the medical world could do, they wanted to talk about it. A few of them came to me. They said they could not discuss it with their families because they didn’t want to talk about it saying “you will be fine” when in reality they weren’t going to be fine. Or they thought they were giving up. One of my friends was concerned about his funeral…where to have it..what would the music be and so on. To this day I think he had the nicest funeral I have ever been to. He planned the whole thing out. Dedicated songs to certain people, Invited people to share stories..a real celebration of his life. Sometimes just having everything planned also takes a lot of stress off of the family. We as a society should really be able to handle this much better. After all we are always taught we are going to a better place..right?

Annie Mattil Coyne

Well that’s a few of my thoughts.
I am working on a book..from diagnosis through treatment.
The book is called Sunshine Survivor.
The name of my salon is Positive Energy Salon & Boutique in
Exeter, New Hampshire.
I do believe cancer has led me to my calling!


Connect with Annie on Facebook

Your Most Important Relationship

Who is the one person you can name with certainty will be the longest relationship you’ll ever have? The answer of course is – YOU!

If you are going to be spending more time in this life with yourself, aren’t you worth time and effort to discover, celebrate, improve, and enjoy?

Self love and self care is one of the most unselfish actions you can express for yourself and others. Why? Because when you are your best, everyone around you is inspired to be their best as well.

You can only give away the love, happiness, peace and joy in porportion to the amount you posess. You must first own in this life whatever you want to give a way, spiritual gifts included.

You can throw perfume or throw manure, but whatever you throw at someone else has to stick to you first.

It sticks to you first.


What do you want more of in your life? How do you want to feel? Write it down now.

Now write down one simple action you can take today to give this away in your life.
Maybe if you want more understanding you can give away listening to someone with patience and non-judgement. If you want more appreciation, maybe you can send an unexpected thank you card to someone who has been kind to you. If you want more spontaneous happiness, maybe you can surprise someone with a colorful bouquet of balloons. Be creative. Be sincere. Be you.

When you enjoy your own company, others will follow. Don’t expect from someone else what you first can’t do for yourself. Know your strengths, weaknesses, dreams and desires. Learn from others, because you will never live long enough to experience it all yourself.

The seeds you plant today, will be the flowers which bloom in the garden of your life tomorrow. Plant seeds of kindness and you will grow love.

The world needs you. Share your shine. Invest in yourself. Be the best person you were created to be. You’re worth it.


Deb Scott, BA, CPC

Deb is Author of the National Four time Award Winner Book in: Self-Help | Moitvation | Best New Non-Fiction | Self-Improvement;  The Sky is Green and The Grass is Blue - , a Certified Professional Coach at Discover the Amazing YOU! Coaching, and host of the Top Rated Best People We Know Show! on Blog Talk Radio. Self HelpRadio

Taking complex issues and making them easy to understand.  Simple Steps to Stop Suffering Now!  Now available on Kindle.

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Deb Scott, Certified Professional Coach, specializes in working with individuals, businesses, and corporate environments, transforming ineffective group and personal dynamics into high-powered, successful, dynamic individuals and teams. A biology major in college, Deb became an award-winning sales and leadership specialist. With 20 years of background in cardiac surgery sales, she now applies her sales and business background to motivational speaking and consulting. She speaks and writes about how you can turn things around whether you’re in sales, marketing, advertising, hiring, or teambuilding. – “The Sky is Green and The Grass is Blue.” Turning Your Upside-Down World Right-Side-Up!” is her award winning debut book.   Get the book on Amazon today.