Anxiety, fear, anger, and depression – these are some of the many emotions you may experience after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Everyone copes differently with this diagnosis, and there’s no right or wrong way of coming to terms with it. But a significant aspect of handling this experience is to make sure that it does not end up handling you. Recognize these four reasons why your diagnosis does not own you.
You’re asking the right questions
Especially in the beginning, this path that you’re on is a scary one. Those first doctor’s visits after your diagnosis can be overwhelming, especially since you’re still processing the news. Now your doctor is telling you about your options, your prognosis, and the decisions you need to make. But although you can tell she’s doing her best to break it down for you, it is almost like a foreign language.
So before your next visit, you pick up a pen and paper and write down everything you want to ask your doctor without worrying about whether your questions are valid or not. Every question you ask is the right question. But avoid information overload by pacing yourself and asking a set number of questions at every visit if you need to.
You have plans
After this diagnosis, you may have to change your plans, delay them, fast-track them, or perhaps leave them as they are. The fact that remains is that you still have plans. Keeping a written, audio, or video journal can help you keep track of all the complicated feelings you’re having and can help you organize your thoughts as you map out your next steps. It’s okay to take some time to get to this point. Just know that getting there means getting into the driver’s seat as you navigate through this journey.
You’ve done your research
At this point, you are an active member of your health care team. Although it is easy to get carried away with Google searches, you make it a point to be an advocate for yourself. So, you’re searching for answers, and before things get murky, discuss your findings with your team members. Your resources include your doctors. So, ask them about any innovations in breast cancer care and find out whether these treatment modalities are suitable for you. If you heard mention of a proton therapy center, ask more questions about it. If you heard something about fewer treatment complications, find out if such a plan is a good option for you.
You know someone has your back
You appreciate how valuable a reliable support system is. This could range from a family member or a friend to an entire support group of people going through the same or similar battles. Having someone in your corner is something you take comfort in during your darkest moments. But even with a strong support system, it is normal to feel alone sometimes. The good news is that you know they will always be there for you when you need them the most.
Wherever you are in your journey, cultivating these attitudes can help you build your mental endurance for the fight ahead. It’s a tough one, so prepare to fight with all you’ve got and know that you are never alone in it.
You’ll enjoy this episode from This Grit and Grace Life podcast: How to Be a Grace-Filled Friend in Hard Times – 096!