KAHS graduate to speak about her book, surviving breast cancer
The surprise Gwen Rosha Anderson received on her 28th birthday – July 8, 2008 – was not anything she ever wanted.
It was on that day five years ago that Anderson got word that she had a lump on her breast that was not a cyst, and a biopsy was required.
The next day she heard the words “Gwen, it’s cancer.” She would learn soon that she was diagnosed with stage 1b infiltrating ductal carcinoma.
Now, five years later, Anderson has written a book entitled My Three Lumps, about that experience and the trauma she went through. She will speak about the book and that eventful period of her life at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Kimball Public Library.
Anderson, who graduated from Kimball Area High School in 1998, is looking forward to sharing her message of survival with her hometown.
The three lumps that Anderson will speak about include not only the breast cancer that she has overcome but a life-shattering divorce as well.
“As scary as cancer was, divorce hurt more,” said Anderson, the daughter of James and Marcia Rosha.
Today Anderson said that, although she would not wish what she went through on anyone, she is glad she experienced the pain and was able to come out triumphant. It has made her a better person, she said.
“I used to despise the color pink, especially pink ribbons as a reminder of what I’ve gone through,” Anderson writes on her website. “I’m proud to now embrace both the color and the ribbons and use my story to help other people that are also affected by all that I’ve gone through – cancer, separation, feeling as if the world is punishing you – but I’m also hoping that people connect to the love of your family and friends, and the thought of knowing that things do indeed get so much better.”
Before her cancer, Anderson was super organized and worried about the smallest details. Today she has a much healthier attitude and outlook on life.
“Little things don’t bug me anymore. They’re not that big of deal.”
Anderson is remarried. She and her husband Kern have a 3-year-old daughter, Estella Magda.
Anderson did not think she would ever find true love “after going through divorce and cancer. I felt tainted,” she said of her breast reconstruction, her medical history, and the emotional scars left by the divorce.
“I can’t imagine life without them. My past didn’t scare (Kern) off.”
Anderson has spoken a handful of times to groups about her book. And, even though she is not a public speaker, she enjoys meeting people who she might be able to offer some inspiration.
“I’m meeting more people who have been affected by cancer,” said Anderson, now an elementary school teacher in Cold Spring. “I like to tell them that things will get better in their lives.”
“Speaking in Kimball, where I’m from, is special. I’m excited about being able to go back. I’m not the same person I was in high school,” said Anderson, who in high school participated in the Knowledge Bowl, was a cheerleader, and was voted Teacher’s Pet.
“It means a lot speaking there. It warms my heart that people want to hear me speak. I appreciate their support,” said Anderson, who after high school attended St. Cloud State University where she earned her undergraduate degree in Spanish with an emphasis in education in 2002 and a year later received her Master’s Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language.
Anderson remembers her first book talk and crying through most of the presentation. She has gotten better with her emotions although “I still cry every single time.”
Anderson’s book was published in January 2013. It is available online through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you would like an autographed copy, you can order it through her website. www.gwenroshaanderson.com.