Have compassion for yourself

Published:

 

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.

Be flexible, embrace comfort and have compassion for yourself. After diagnosis and during treatment, I redesigned my routines, habits and relationships. I took countless relaxing baths, slept as much as possible, wore very comfortable clothes and simplified my family’s activities.

When side effects made it difficult to read books, I discovered that watching Wheel of Fortune (a show I didn’t normally care for) was the right amount of visual/mental stimulation instead.

Sometimes I did feel like a different person. Also, I didn’t always feel strong or hopeful, especially after many weeks of treatment. However, I prevailed, and my life is still on the same track it was before I knew I had cancer. I picked up where I left off, plus I gained a deeper compassion for myself and others, and I am far more brave than I was before.

— Holly Carstensen of Vancouver. Diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in August 2012.