Focus on creativity

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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.

A friend of mine told me to go buy one of every bottled water in the store. He said that during chemo water would not taste right. Find the one that works and buy a case.

One other thing that helped was to create a cancer book. In it I wrote all my fears, sadness, thoughts and feelings. Putting it all on paper got it out of my head so that it couldn’t fester. I also put in drawings and stories. Having something creative to focus on really helped.

Some nights I had trouble sleeping. On those nights I listened to whale songs. It worked so well for me that by the third song I would definitely fall asleep. I would recommend whatever music/sounds helps you to relax.

What helped me the most, though, was when I decided to let go, to let my family take care of me.

— Penelope Lale of Vancouver. Diagnosed with H2 negative breast cancer and cancer-free for six years.