Allow others to help

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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.

My biggest advice would be that you need to allow others to help you! This was a big mistake on my part when going through breast cancer treatment more than 16 years ago. I pushed people away who wanted to help. Sometimes it’s as simple as helping by running an errand, taking you to treatment, bringing a meal, a cup of coffee, walking the dog or praying with them. Allow them this privilege. People want to help and we withhold blessings from them by saying “no.” It will bless you and bless them back.

Friends of cancer patients, when you are pushed away, push back. It’s a cry for help. Even the Lone Ranger needed Tonto.

Look for the humor in the situation. It can be found! Mine was in a “disappearing armpit.”

And as you go through treatment or have finished, share your story with others who are going through similar situations. I didn’t want to do that, I just wanted to get on with my life. God very clearly said to me, “I have healed you, now reach out to others. You can be their hope when they have lost it, their strength when they have none, and their peace in the midst of turmoil.”

— Barb Boswell of Woodland.

Diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer 16 years ago.