Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a frightening experience. Hopefully the following tips will help you and your loved ones better deal with your diagnosis.
Handling Your Emotions
- Allow yourself to react. It's okay to cry! Feeling shock, anxiety, fear, sadness, depression, overwhelmed and "numb" are all normal reactions.
- Don’t expect yourself to react a certain way. Every woman deals with the diagnosis differently based on personality, coping skills and previous life experience.
- Find someone to confide in.
- Try journaling – some women find it helpful.
- Focus on life one day at a time.
- Know that you are the same radiant woman despite this diagnosis, treatment and surgery.
- Attend a breast cancer support group where other women can identify with what you are going through. Visit www.breastcancercolorado.org to find local support groups.
- Rarely is breast cancer a medical emergency. Take time to gather information and learn about this disease.
- Ask your doctor and health care providers for written information.
- Take a notebook or tape recorder to your doctor's appointments and write down your questions ahead of time.
- Invite your spouse or significant other to come to doctor's visits to pick up what you may miss.
- Don't take too much advice from well meaning friends and family until you have all the facts and your treatment plan in place.
- Be aware that internet resources are not always reliable or may not pertain to your specific situation. Discuss whatever you learn with your doctor.
- Get a second opinion if it will help you make a treatment decision more confidently.
- Make the best treatment choices with your doctor from the information you've gathered.
Making Your Health a Priority
- Eat a balanced diet high in fruits, vegetables and grains, and low in fat.
- Exercise regularly. Choose an activity you enjoy such as walking, swimming, or yoga.
- Get plenty of rest and a full night's sleep.
- Choose to work or not work during treatment based on your own needs. Usually your doctor will support whichever option you choose.
- Listen to your body.
- Surround yourself with positive and helpful people.
- Plan for fun times.
- Keep your sense of humor – it’s essential and good for the immune system!
- Check with your doctor before taking any supplements or over the counter medications as they could interfere with your treatment.
▲ Back to top
Talking to Children
- Be open and honest with them when explaining the diagnosis in simple terms.
- Keep in mind that their fears are often worse than reality.
- Remember that children are adept at picking up on your actions and reactions and how you are coping.
- Let your children respond in their own ways - children will respond differently based on their ages and personalities.
- Let them know what they can do to help out.
- Assure them that their life will continue as before (as much as possible).
- Look into support groups and books that help children whose parent has cancer.
Dealing with the Fear of Recurrence
- Don’t expect yourself to react a specific way – women cope differently.
- Remember that while you cannot change your diagnosis, you can change your attitude about it.
- Keep your appointments for follow up once your treatment is through.
- Discuss your fears with your spouse and/or significant other and doctor.
- Face your own mortality – it can help you realize what is most important in life.
- Consider seeking spiritual comfort.
- Take time for prayer, meditation and quietness.
- List your fears and then write down next to each what you are able and not able to do about it.
- Prioritize what is most important for you to do and take steps to meet those goals. Learn to say "no" to the non-essentials.
- Savor life one day at a time.
▲ Back to top