Organized annually to sensitize people about breast cancer and raising funds for research for its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure, October is the month for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Referred to as the ‘Pink Month’, nearly 91% of women are diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018.
We all have known someone who went through the horror of being diagnosed with breast cancer; someone who fought back; someone who is a cancer survivor. In short, the pink hero, whom we all have supported and encouraged to accept the things happening to them.
I have known women of character who are cancer survivors and they are damn inspiring and positive about life! They have shared some tips on how they overcame the fear of breast cancer and how they dealt with depression when diagnosed with this disease.
• Get a summary of your treatments.
Knowing what surgery, radiation, and chemo do to you is helpful as you will be mentally ready. It will help you in making a plan for monitoring the long-term effects of the cancer treatment.
• Be happy as you were before.
When my friend was diagnosed, she cut off all contacts with me and rejected the idea of being happy. Then came in my teacher who also is a cancer survivor, she helped us understand her state of mind, we supported her and gradually we were finding the old friend somehow. Acceptance is a huge support!
• If you are in doubt, get second or third opinions.
Sometimes having a second or third opinion is not wrong. Know that there will be many people who will have a lot to say but be sure to go to experts. Second opinions are never wrong.
• It can happen to anyone, if you are wrongly diagnosed, have the courage to overcome it!
Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to be angry but have the courage to move on quickly into a plan of action. Focus on your health and live!
• Question your doctors.
Don’t be shy to ask questions to your doctors! Clear your doubts and tell them your concerns. Find out about what treatment they are giving and if you don’t understand then ask them what it is about.
• Believe in your treatment.
Be mentally ready for the treatment. Even if you have a doubt, clear it out and believe. Stay positive about the treatment. If possible, visualize the drugs going through your body and killing every cancer cell.
• Do what you love!
Yes, I agree family support is a great thing but don’t go on pleasing everybody. You are the one who deals with the treatments and its effects, so better do what you see right. After all, it’s your life and no one has a say in it!
• Write about your experience.
Journaling is one way of helping you overcome this fear. Write down how you feel each day and how it is affecting you. Know that writing is one of the best therapies that exist.
• Track your experience.
If you have ever heard of “chemo fog”, then documenting all the drugs you are taking, your doctors’ appointments, your side effects to certain drugs, all this will help you for your next step in grabbing back your life.
• Eat healthy
Have a healthy diet! Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Have a proper diet that won’t make you feel bad. Also always stay hydrated.
• No smoking.
Don’t take the risk of smoking after you recover, even if there is there is no connection between smoking and breast cancer. Precaution is better than cure!
It might not be your cup of tea, but exercising is advisable!
• Be gentle with yourself.
Take time for yourself, you need to heal and healing sometimes is personal. Sleep and survive. You can do it!
• Be ready to let go.
Cancer is a bitch! It is the hard truth that you have to accept that you have to let go. I know it’s difficult but someday you have to!
• Tell your survival story.
You are a survivor and there are people who want to listen to your story. Don’t be afraid to tell your story.
For a cancer patient, going through depression is an undeniable fact. They are at their weakest and there are many of them who can’t go through it without the right support! To be able to deal with depression, here are some tips:
• Your feelings are valid and you can cope with it. Fear, anxiety, and depression are associated with a diagnosis of breast cancer. Your life is about to change and you know that’s no fault of yours. Accept the change and be brave enough to deal with it!
• Take a break from cancer. Be more open to what is happening outside. Come out of your cocoon.
• Manage your fears and stand up to every decision you take!