Preparing After A Cancer Diagnosis
When my oldest son turned one, my husband and I did something out of character for us. We bought a used speedboat. That was ten years ago, and we still spend every other weekend in the summer months on a campsite or out on the water. If you have any familiarity with boats, there is an adage that says the word boat is just an acronym for Bail Out Another Thousand. Another favorite is, “don’t buy a boat, just become friends with someone who owns a boat.” All this to mean that boats are a depreciating and expensive hobby, not to mention a lot of work. However, for us, it’s been the best investment for spending quality time as a family.
The boat itself is 16 years old. While we’ve had pretty good luck up until this point, through natural wear and tear, we are starting to see issues crop up. This means when we go out on the lake now, we don’t make the assumption that everything will go smoothly. We bring our tools and have water patrol on speed dial. If we do have trouble that can’t be fixed, another boat will come by to assist. They’ll throw us a rope and tow us in.
While only 10% of women are under the age of 45 when diagnosed with breast cancer, I still look back to 4 years ago when I was 35, wishing I had somehow been more prepared for the experience. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and while much time and money has been dedicated to trying to prevent cancer or cure it, what do we do if we already have it?
No one expects to hear they have a life-threatening disease, but if it happens, will you be prepared? Just as our family prepares should something go wrong out on the water, you will be so much more ready, so much stronger, so able to overcome the trauma of your own breast cancer diagnosis if you prepare in advance to face it.
That’s why Faith Through Fire exists- to provide support and direction on how you can navigate breast cancer better.
Here are three things you should do after receiving a cancer diagnosis:
- Get a second opinion. Getting a second opinion on any medical condition is a best practice. Doing so can provide you additional options or simply validate your current plan providing confidence to move forward. It’s important to note that a second opinion isn’t just something you do when first diagnosed. If, at any time in the treatment process, you aren’t happy with your care or are interested in another viewpoint, it is perfectly acceptable for you to seek another opinion.
Read 3 Reasons to Always Seek a Second Opinion
- Start asking friends, family, or local nonprofits for help based on your individualized needs. This is no time for pride; your ability to accept help from those offering is the shortest path to future happiness. Consider whether you need financial aid, a recovery recliner after surgery, healthy meals, rides to treatment, education regarding your disease state, a therapist, etc. and put people and resources in place to meet those needs.
- Ask for a Faith Through Fire Fortify peer mentor to aid you emotionally. These are breast cancer survivors who volunteer to offer encouragement and support to newly diagnosed patients via text messaging—having someone who has shared your experience available for support or information during the treatment process will help you manage your emotions more healthily and make the cancer treatment process more manageable. Think of your mentor as the other boat on the water coming to assist you. Request a mentor here.
Breast cancer, like boating, doesn’t always promise to be a smooth ride, but by being prepared and taking these steps, you can minimize anxiety and empower yourself to be an active participant in your care. Faith Through Fire is here to help!