Let others help you

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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.

Let others help you, whether it’s bringing meals, doing yard work or taking you to doctor appointments. Friends feel helpless and don’t know what to do, so let them help in any way they can.

I would recommend having someone with you at your doctor appointments so you have another set of ears to hear what is being said, or recording what the doctor said with a recorder.

Give yourself grace. You need to do self care during this time.

A practical tip: If you have the dreaded drains, use a lanyard to pin the drains when you shower.

Throughout my experience I learned how compassionate people are. I was teaching during this time and one of my administrators took my class for 10 minutes so I could leave for radiation and then one of my fellow teachers came in to start the next class while I came back from radiation. They did this for six weeks. All the medical professionals I encountered treated me as a person and not just the disease.

Someone in a breast cancer support group gave me the best advice: “Give yourself a year and see how far you’ve come.” This really helped me to realize I had gone through a lot but I was still standing.

— Janet Railsback of Vancouver.

Diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 2009.