Many of us know someone who has gone through breast cancer. In fact, it seems that many of us know a number of people who have gone through breast cancer. Though advancements have been made in fighting/treating the disease, it doesn't make hearing about the diagnosis any easier. To close out "What You Can Do's" week on Breast Cancer Awareness, we thought it would be valuable to hear from someone who when through it. My cousin, Lori, a breast cancer survivor, was kind enough to agree to answer some questions about her experiences with the disease.
1. What was your first reaction when you heard the diagnosis?
At first relieved to find out the results of all the tests because the waiting was brutal, but then terrified at the thought of having mastectomies and chemotherapy.
2. You are married with children, and so, went through the diagnosis and treatment while being a wife and mom. What advice would you offer someone in the same position?
I would advise any wife and mother to try and stay strong and positive throughout the long treatment process as hard as that can be, and also to try and keep the family's day to day routines to try and maintain a sense of normalcy during such a chaotic time in your family's life.
3. If someone has a loved one who is going through breast cancer (or any illness for that matter), what advice would you give them about things they can do to support their loved one? Is there something that the people in your life did to help that stuck out to you?
I think i was very blessed to have close family and friends just be there to listen to my fears and lend a shoulder to cry on. it was also very helpful to have meals prepared and household chores taken care of.
4. Is there something in particular you want to share with someone going through cancer right now? Were there particular words or experiences that helped get you through the stress that you would like to share with our readers? Any particular coping mechanisms that helped you?
YOU ARE GOING TO BE OK!! it is a long road but you will make it through and thanks to all the donations and awareness the odds are just getting better and better. breast cancer is very treatable so even though the diagnosis in itself is frightening the long term prognosis is good if detected early. i also think it is very important to let others take care of you when you need it and also do things that help you reduce your stress, whether its going to the spa ,doing yoga, getting away or just going shopping and out to lunch with a friend, the more normal things you do the more normal your life will feel.