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So Long Summer, Hello Positive Thinking

Hello to all our readers!

As summer comes to a close and the forever child in all of us feels a bit sad (somehow remembering that back to school feeling even if we're out of school or don't have kids!) -- it seems like a perfect time to bring up an important element to battling breast cancer -- as well as any disease, setback, unfavorable time or unfortunate life circumstance and that is: positive thinking.

We've heard this term tossed around many times before, whether it's plastered across self-help books or touted by daytime talk show hosts... but for many of us it's unnatural or just too difficult to seek out the silver lining or bright side to things even in the lightest of obstacles.

So while we are certainly not comparing Labor Day Weekend and shorter days to dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis -- there is a connection here with how we can apply positive thinking to any and every less than ideal situation we face in our daily lives, whatever that may be for each of us.

And if breast cancer survivors can remain positive in the face of a truly life altering time, then we should absolutely be able to see the sun shine well past the end of August!

To get some more insight on this very important -- and inspiring point -- let's meet our current calendar girl.

Jersey City's own Brenda Dukes smiles brightly representing August, survival and her story in our calendar this month.

Brenda took her health into her own hands quite literally back in 2011. Despite having recently had a mammogram in which she received a clean bill of health, Brenda did a self-exam and found a lump. After she urged her doctor to look into her discovery, a biopsy confirmed her fears. She was diagnosed with breast cancer that June.

Now, before we even touch on positive thinking - let's take a second to think about this. Here, Brenda not only took a very active role in her personal health by doing a self-exam, but she went one step further. Some of us may have brushed off the lump or doubted ourselves having just had a mammogram that didn't raise concerns -- but Brenda did not let that deter her from checking it out. This steadfast approach saved her life.

Even more to her credit, when she learned she had breast cancer her strength still wasn't shaken -- it actually grew and steered her through the rest of her journey.

In her words, "I knew from that moment on my healing process would depend on my thought process."

Even outside of breast cancer, generally speaking, positive thinking can offer us a range of health benefits.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a few of these benefits can include less stress overall, less depression rates and even a longer life span.

But how can we aim to stay positive in times of distress?

Mental Health America which has more than 100 years of history dealing with mental health, offers some tips such as helping or connecting with others, getting proper amounts of sleep, getting physically active and eating well.

Brenda credits her mindset, as well as her close circle, in aiding to her perseverance.

"If you ask me what kept me going, I must say, I am truly blessed. I have a great support system of family and friends. That, combined with my faith and knowing that no matter what life throws at us we can get through it."

Though Brenda admits the process of surgery, chemo and radiation was not easy she kept her outlook intact, finished all of her treatment in January 2012 and has been cancer free since.

We congratulate Brenda on her triumph and we learn from her!

As she says, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."

This is so true! Brenda, we missed your birthday back in January so happy belated to you - certainly something to celebrate another year cancer-free!

As we near the closing out of August and gear up for fall let's take Brenda's attitude and keep that summer sun shining no matter the season, weather or storm!!

Thanks for checking us out this summer and we hope to see you in the fall. The temps may dip but we’re always fired up here -- it’s a breast cancer takedown all year long!

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