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News from CaSfA's Director


Dealing with Breast Cancer

Posted on May 17, 2016 at 12:02 PM

A CaSfA member recently gave me The Silver Lining Companion Guide: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer by Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW.  While this was written specifically for the breast cancer survivor, much is relevant to survivors of all cancers. (The companion guide is available free to all at:  This publication reminded me of a handout I developed a few years ago:

If you are Diagnosed:
Accept feelings-anger, guilt, denial, despair…
Try to stay in the moment-one day at a time
Network with survivors-will help you find doctors and the right treatment plan for 
Try to find mentor-networking/ACS “Reach to Recovery”
Find the right doctor for YOU—Consider 2 opinions, change doctors if not happy
Be careful with internet-can make you crazy!
Get copies of all reports, x-rays, tests
Determine which friends and relatives you want to communicate with and how          
     (email, phone, blog)
Consider support groups/professional help for spouse/kids
Determining Treatment Plan:       
One of the toughest times-consider journaling
Write out questions before doctor appointments
Soul Search for your philosophy--what is most important to you (breast
     conservation/Aggressive therapy?)         
Ask to see before and after pictures of reconstruction procedures you are 
Surgery and Chemo:
Reconstruction is usually a process & rarely a single event
Get list from drs. what can/can’t do, can/can’t eat…
You will need help—ACCEPT IT!!—meals, errands, cleaning, kids
Get fresh air and exercise-helps even in small amounts
Take advantage of professional help available-PT, medications, psych counseling,              
     acupuncture,massage therapy, support groups, Healing Garden!!
Be patient—very hard to do, but recovery takes time-there will be a new “normal”  
     for you
Hair loss is very traumatic-You will need emotional support!!!
Keep a journal of medications—there will be many.  Log type, time taken and 
     reaction. Drs. can make adjustments for side effects
SAVOR THE GOOD TIMES—do something fun when you are feeling good
After Treatment:
Fear, anxiety can build-“What do I do now?”
Consider support groups, professional help
Check out Living Beyond Breast

“Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life”,

Categories: breast cancer

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