By Dennis Hung • March 29, 2018•Issues, Balancing Private and Professional Life
Facing breast cancer is one of the scariest things a woman can face and the uncertainty it presents can stir a wide range of emotions. Learning to accept the condition and to confront the battle ahead with courage is not something that comes easy, but it's also not something that anyone has to deal with alone. There are millions of breast cancer survivors willing to share their advice and lend their support to help you submit to treatment and face a life after recovery.
Keep a Journal
One of the most important things a woman confronting breast cancer can do is to maintain a journal. If you're feeling skeptical, you're not alone. Maria Carter wasn't sure how keeping a wellness journal would help her, but she was willing to give it a try. She found that writing assignments, like "30 things that make you smile," were enough to help her maintain a degree of hope for the future. At a time when she was at a higher risk for depression, keeping her journal helped her stay focused on treatment and the future.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you have a hundred questions, ask them all. That's what your doctor is there for and she's expecting you to be very concerned and inquisitive. From asking about the effectiveness of taking an endurance supplement to treat breast cancer to wanting to know the side effects of radiation therapy, your doctor can give you all of the information you need. Remember, your doctor won't know what you're feeling, or fearing, if you don't express yourself.
Don't Go it Alone
Additionally, it's wise to bring a loved one along with you on your medical appointments. This can be a family member or a friend, but it should be someone you trust. She can be there to remind you to bring up points of concern or to ask about issues that have arisen since your last appointment. Just as important, she can be a force for moral and emotional support, which you will need throughout your treatment.
It's Okay to Look Beautiful Again
Breast cancer patients are encouraged to focus on their appearance, especially after treatments that have caused hair loss. This isn't to make others feel comfortable in their presence, but to focus on what makes the patient feel good about themselves. Some choose to wear a wig, others opt for a head scarf, and others choose not to do anything. It's up to each individual, but every patient is supported in her decision. Paying attention to her appearance helps the patient focus on something more positive and it's about making her feel better about herself.
Seek Out Support
While your family and friends may mean well, it may be awkward or uncomfortable for you to open up about your condition. That's why breast cancer survivors attend support meetings in most hospitals across the country. When they come together in a semi-formal setting, they can feel free to express themselves, knowing that the others in the group will understand. Many patients find it to be an extremely helpful tool in coping with breast cancer and in helping others to come to terms with their own condition.
Don't Stop Living
Even as you endure treatment for your breast cancer, it's important to maintain a semblance of normalcy in your life. Breast cancer patients are encouraged to keep living their lives between treatments as much as they are physically able. Certainly, there will be hard days, but, even on those days, it's important to try to do some normal things. This will remind you that there's a life waiting, after you complete treatment and recovery.
They call cancer treatment a battle and that's not far from the truth, considering all that it takes to eradicate it from the body. That's all the more reason to keep a positive frame of mind and hold onto your hopes for the future. This is the time to rely on family and friends, as well as those in support groups and your caregivers, for their strength and support.