Fight like a girl

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Advice from survivors

Who better to guide people diagnosed with breast cancer than those who have walked the path? The following is advice for those recently diagnosed with breast cancer from women who have received the diagnosis. Submissions have been edited for clarity and brevity. Read more at www.columbian.com/news/health/breast-cancer.

“Fight like a girl!” This was etched into a pendant given to me by a dear friend when I fought and beat Stage 3 invasive breast cancer two years ago. She was so right. I needed that reminder daily as I went through months and months of chemo, bilateral mastectomy surgery and radiation treatments.

Regardless of where you are in your diagnosis, there is no sugarcoating this journey for you. You will have good days and days that you just can’t function. But that’s OK! Now is the time to reach out to others: Family, friends and your faith. They were my “angels,” there when I needed them the most.

Also, if you can, please bring someone with you to doctor appointments and treatments. There is so much information being thrown at you all at once, and it helps to have another set of ears to hear important things.

Always remember that this is your body, and you are in charge of making treatment decisions. Do your research. I visited websites, read every bit of info my oncologist gave me and asked friends for first-hand advice, especially with regard to reconstruction options. I took my doctor’s advice and chose a very aggressive treatment path, but it might not be for everyone. I’m glad I did though because I am now healthy and cancer-free.

You are strong, too, and you can do this!

Sending many prayers for strength. Know that we (survivors) are all around you, lifting you up.

— Jennifer McDaniel of Washougal. Diagnosed with Stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma.