|Listen to Rena's interview|
"Cancer is a transformational experience, you never come out of it the way you went in. For me, if I’m going to get anything positive from the experience I have to grow. The devastating part is: who am I now? I don’t mean that I’m not the same person, but I’m not the same person entirely. And it’s not because of no hair, but that’s the symbolic level. Who is this rebirthed person, and what am I going to do, and how does my life have any meaning? And people don’t get it. People look at you, and you look okay, they think you’re okay.
"I would want people to know about having cancer that you can go beyond it, that your life isn’t over the minute you get a cancer diagnosis. There’s life after cancer, even if it’s life with cancer.
"I’ve learned that I’m not invincible, that I’d better be prepared to die because you never know. I’ve learned how scary it can be, and you still get out the other side of the fear. I’ve learned a lot about people – how much they’re willing to give, how much they’re willing to help, how much they love me. I’ve learned how to ask for help and take help. I learned more about death, I learned what’s important to me: people, God, my animals, my religion, nature, freedom.
"I think trying to support someone who has cancer, it’s very important to go with them to medical appointments and keep track of all the information that doctors or nurses give. And to go, even if the person says, “I don’t need you.” Go anyway, if it’s any kind of information at all. And to be very, very patient, because mood swings come with this, depression comes with it. Try to understand that the person is very scared most likely, but they’re still a whole person. Don’t just treat them as a disease.
"All I can say is having cancer is like getting on a bus and you don’t know where you’re going to get off or if you’re going to get off or where it’s going to stop, so you have to hold on and keep riding. See what you get out of it."