This post is sponsored by Genentech. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
We recently chatted with a breast cancer survivor to better understand how she courageously battled her disease and juggled life during 15 months of treatment for her breast cancer. Check out our 7 Helpful Self-Care Tips for Women Diagnosed with breast cancer. My best friend Allison was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 and she hopes sharing these nuggets of wisdom will provide encouragement to you or a loved one you know who is battling breast cancer.
If you or a friend are just starting a breast cancer journey, take a peek at our popular post with information on What Questions to Ask Your Doctor When Diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Not every breast cancer is the same, so it’s important to ask lots of questions to better understand your specific type of breast cancer disease to determine the right treatment steps for you with your doctor.
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7 Helpful Self-Care Tips for Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer
A breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming for the patient and her loved ones. Check out these 7 Helpful Self-Care Tips for Women Diagnosed with breast cancer from this 3 year breast cancer survivor.
Allison has been my best friend since we were 12 years old, so you can imagine how nervous I was for my beloved friend and her family knowing that she needed to battle breast cancer. Allison was diagnosed with HER2+and HR- breast cancer. Before her diagnosis, I didn’t even realize there were so many different types of breast cancer. This really surprised me as I didn’t know there was more than one type of breast cancer. I thought all breast cancer was the same!!
My friend Allison was diagnosed with an aggressive type of breast cancer. Based on the size of her tumor and type of her breast cancer it was considered Stage 3. You can learn more about the various types of breast cancer here if you are unfamiliar with this concept like me. I learned so much about breast cancer types and treatments from Allison’s breast cancer journey. http://www.notonetype.com
I was amazed at how beautifully my best friend Allison handled her diagnosis and 15 challenging months of treatment that included a Mastectomy. These are her tips to help others better manage their diagnosis and process of treatment based on what worked well for her.
More About Allison: Allison lives in New Jersey with her husband and 2 gorgeous daughters aged 11 and 13. She is a full time 5th grade school teacher who is passionate about sharing her love of reading with her students. Allison is also an amazing athlete – in college she ran Division 1 track and Cross Country at Penn State. She tackled her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment like everything else in her life – bravely and positively! She worked full time during her treatment too. Maintaining that sense of normalcy was great for her spirits and for her family. She actually only ended up missing less than 3 days of work due to her breast cancer disease and she was able to schedule her Mastectomy during the summer when school was closed. She truly is an inspiration to me and everyone who knows her.
7 Helpful Self-Care Tips for Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer
These 7 self care tips are things that Allison found that brought more joy into her life and better helped her personally manage the treatment process during a very challenging time in her life. The process can be different for everyone, but Allison is hopeful that sharing some of her experience and lessons learned might help others in the same situation.
1. Bring a New Friend to Each Treatment
Just like every woman’s breast cancer is unique, so is her treatment experience. Bringing a different friend to each treatment gives you something to look forward to. Plus it’s a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones. For Allison, bringing a different friend to each treatment gave her something to look forward to.
2. Write down Questions BEFORE your doctor appointments
As a patient it’s very easy to get overwhelmed during your medical appointments as doctors throw out scientific words, treatment plans and options. Having your questions written down in advance will insure you ask the questions you know want answers or opinions on from your doctors or nurses. Visit the NotOneType.org website for a great resource If you need a great resource that includes “Questions to Ask” to help women and their caregivers be proactive members of their healthcare teams.
3. Set goals for yourself
Large or small goals are helpful. Examples include, “I want to be well for the ____.” You can also countdown treatments as well so you can see the progress you are making and how far you have come.
4. Don’t expect the worst
Everyone responds differently to breast cancer and treatments. Please keep an open mind about expectations.
5. Keep Moving until you need to Rest
Whether it is work or your exercise routine, keep it all going as normally for as long as you can. When you need to rest, rest and if you need to scale it back, it’s better to do less than to do nothing if your body is physically able. Take walks instead of a run, or shorten your exercise routine. Work Part time instead of full time etc.
6. Find People You can Be Brutally Honest with…. Treat Others with Care
Everyone in your circle of friends or family may react differently to your diagnosis and the type of support they give you. That’s okay. Share your toughest moments and fears with those you feel you can be brutally honest with and share more limited information with others.
7. Find a Breast Cancer Support Group
Support from people who specifically understand what you are going through is very beneficial. Reach out to online groups or find a local group through your hospital. Sharing stories and hearing from people who are going through a similar breast cancer experience is very valuable.
2 thoughts on “7 Helpful Self-Care Tips for Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer”
Such a terrific journal you wrote about Allison’s journey dealing with breast cancer, and her also telling her story.
Breast cancer research has come so far in treatment and recognizing there are different types.
My husband (yes husband) had a form of breast cancer- did you know that breast cancer types are not just in the breast? He is in remission from Mammary analogue secretory carcinoma with his located in the parotid gland.
We met many women going through treatment, and I loved talking to all of them. Some were there with friends, many not.