Try your very best to have a positive outlook and mindset, and project that. Yes, there will be rough, miserable and hopeless days. Do not let those define you. You are still you!
We are survivors from the second we learn of our diagnosis. What we view as normal will never be the same again. You need to learn and grow from your new normal, and it might actually be a better life than before. I’ve learned to appreciate my family and friends so much more and will never take those relationships for granted again in my life.
Speaking of relationships, most of the dynamics in all of mine have changed. There are some people who will no longer be comfortable in your presence, and there are people that step up, offer help (which you should seriously take), and your bond with them just strengthens. It’s a beautiful thing.
Don’t be scared of chemotherapy. The actual process of infusion is pretty easy. Oncology nurses are a gift from heaven. They are so knowledgeable, helpful and truly treat you compassionately like the human being that you are. Don’t assume all the major and scary side effects will happen to you. Listen to your oncologist and if something just doesn’t feel right, never hesitate to call and ask, even if it is 3 a.m.
Do not pack a bag for chemotherapy, but do bring someone with you. Not only because you can’t drive, but for company. I do recommend eating a little bit before you go, but stay away from spicy food, and stick to small, light meals. The blander the better.
Advice from survivorsWho 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.
Finally, do not be afraid to fall apart and cry. You are battling something scary, and your body is taking a beating! I found that I was more angry, sad and depressed when I was waiting for treatment to start than I am now during treatment.
Rest if your body needs you to. If you’re too tired to get out of bed, don’t!
Lastly, fight this. It’s a horrible fight, but you can do it.
— Patti Hadaller of Vancouver. Diagnosed with breast cancer in March and currently undergoing treatment.