Don’t Face Breast Cancer Alone: Use Your Circle of Support
Mammograms are critical for finding breast cancers in localized and early stages. We hope this story will inspire you to get screened at a facility near you: http://dignityhlth.org/mammography
When Molly learned she had breast cancer, she knew an emotional and challenging road lay ahead of her. She needed to make important decisions regarding her health and quality of life that would affect the people around her, too. But after some contemplation and with the support of her wonderful friends and family, Molly navigated that difficult path with grace and was able to make confident decisions regarding the best options for her care.
Molly learned to trust in herself and her support system during this tough time. Whether it was getting in touch with her larger social circle or bringing someone along for a doctor’s appointment, she was able to realize when she needed help from her closest friends and relatives and when she could draw strength from flying solo. That balance between personal and social interaction lit the way for Molly on her journey.
Take Time for Yourself
There’s no question that breast cancer (or any type of cancer) is traumatic, no matter the severity of the case or the details involved. When making choices about your health, be present with yourself in your vulnerability, as you would with a close friend. Acknowledge that cancer presents a really difficult challenge, but realize that, in each moment, you’re doing the best you can.
Be open with family members without feeling the need to overwhelm yourself with too many conversations. Instead of fielding questions from every single person in your circle, pick one close relative or friend who can act as a point person and keep your wider community in the loop.
Use the Buddy System — When You Need It
When you attend meetings with doctors, ask someone you trust to accompany you to absorb information, take notes, and ask clarifying questions. It can be overwhelming to learn new medical terms and take in so much data and potential treatment options. Having someone there to be a second pair of eyes and ears is a gift to you and your family.
When it comes time to make big decisions, do just as you would with any important process: Do your research so you understand the details of your diagnosis and the possible options for healing. A decision that might be right for one person may not be best for you, and vice versa. This is where you have the chance to balance your personal choices and the opinions of your closest confidants. Make sure you’re comfortable having candid conversations, not only about your health but your life in general.
As you navigate the decision-making process, take extra time to check in with yourself and process your emotions. Spending time with dear friends, journaling, and leaning on a social worker can make an incredible difference. Stepping away from it all is a priority, too; give yourself and your loved ones time to play and be in the moment. But don’t be afraid to lean heavily on that circle of support, allowing your dearest ones to care for you as you take steps to improve your health — it’s the most healing gift you can give to yourself and your family.
Mammograms are critical for finding breast cancers in localized and early stages. We hope this story will inspire you to get screened at a facility near you. To schedule a mammogram in your area, see the following: http://dignityhlth.org/mammography
Image source: Flickr