‘I wanted a trail map’: New Jersey woman, who battled breast cancer twice, writes memoir

A woman from Basking Ridge has heard three words no one wants to hear not once, but twice in her life -- you have cancer -- and now, she’s opening up about navigating the treacherous waters and hoping to offer some guidance to others battling the disease.

News 12 Staff

Oct 5, 2020, 4:28 PM

Updated 1,350 days ago

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A woman from Basking Ridge has heard three words no one wants to hear not once, but twice in her life -- you have cancer -- and now, she’s opening up about navigating the treacherous waters and hoping to offer some guidance to others battling the disease.
“My breast surgeon said, ‘I’m sorry you have breast cancer,’ and you know, all of the things went through my head,” says Christine Shields Corrigan. “How are we going to tell the kids? Am I going to die? How are we going to get through this as a family? What kind of treatment am I going to need? That all comes crashing down.”  
Corrigan knew she was in for the fight of her life. After facing Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at age 14, and breast cancer as an adult, the mom of three says perhaps the biggest challenge came right after her diagnosis. 
“In that moment, when you hear those words, you know that that life you had up until then is gone,” says Corrigan. “That timeline is broken.” 
The fear and countless unanswered questions are what led her to write a book to help others who have just been diagnosed. 
“I wanted a trail map,” says Corrigan. “I wanted a flashlight, you know. I went looking for a book that was going to tell me as a mom and a wife and a professional, doing all the things, how was I going do it and get through it, and I couldn’t find that book.” 
Her memoir titled, “Again: Surviving Cancer Twice with Love and Lists” provides insight for survivors, caregivers, families and friends. Some of her advice includes to be open about your diagnosis, don’t increase your anxiety by looking to the web for answers and gather a team for support.  
“I wanted to create a book that would be like having a conversation with a friend,” says Corrigan.
Corrigan says Breast Cancer Awareness Month can be very triggering for people who have fought the illness, and she encourages their families and friends to remember that despite what they’re going through, they’re still the same person and sometimes the best thing you can do is just to be there and listen.  
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