Prior to reading this, let me already tell you, I will not sugar coat it. Also this is my personal views, from what I went through. My hope is that my own experience will help you or someone you know.
You will be scared, confused and will ask yourself "why me?"
You wonder about life, where did you go wrong?
You become amazingly overwhelmed with all the doctors appointments, all the information they tell you, and once you start letting others know, their own insights as well.
So here are a few recommendations:
You ARE alive
Do NOT research too much online. Each case is very different from one another.
Make sure to always have a recording tape with you when you go to doctors. This way you can always hearing it back.
Take a family member or a friend (if possible someone who has already gone through it)
Get into a support group
At first, all your mind does is fill itself with all negative thoughts, but something inside us triggers our fight instincts and when that happens, we get into a mode of wanting to live life to the fullest. Go for it, do not cover up those feelings. We suddenly realize we live life while taking it for granted, yet anything can happen, no matter how old you are, or how well you have been taking care of yourself.
The Internet is an amazing tool, but it can also be a scary one, especially at moments as such, where, if you are anything like me, one starts researching all about breast cancer. Here is the deal. no two cancers are alike, even if yours has the exact same characteristics as someone else, we are all individual, our bodies react differently, so what may work for one, may not for another.
You have to be 100% comfortable with your medical team, if you are not, look for others that are more to your liking and you click with them. They are the voice of expertise, so you need to trust them. Whatever route you take, that of modern medicine, natural, eastern, and so on, it is YOUR decision and yours only. So when others try to tell you otherwise, remember, you have to trust your team and go with it.
Please, make sure to allow someone to go with you to the appointments, especially at first. Use all tools you can think of to gather all the information that is thrown at you. And let me tell you, it is a LOT. Chemo, no chemo, what type, radiation or not, surgery, lumpectomy or mastectomy, full or partial, skin or nipple sparing? Things you never would have thought you would learn about.
Also, I never thought one day I would say such, BUT support groups are amazing, especially if you find a group of ladies and gents that you connect well you. I truly believe only those going through this, actually really understand us. Everyone else, family, close friends, may be there for you, may help you emotionally and physically, but will never REALLY get it!
Prior to my diagnosis I knew so much about breast cancer....
I was 19 years old when my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was there for her through it all; her surgery, her chemo and radiation, her ups and downs. We were silly with each other, we cried a few times, but most of the time my Mother was a rock, strong as ever, as if her experience, her journey was nothing, no big deal. At least that is how she portrayed it to the world. I NOW see her journey in a very different light. I am finally understanding some of her comments, her actions, which at the time I thought it was just her being strong, her just being her. But it was not. She became more closed in, she became tougher as a being, and kept even more to herself. She did not let her true feelings out.
I always wondered since then if I would also end up with BC, considering my Mother's came back almost 20 years and my Aunt also ended up with it. Hence the reason I decided to do the gene testing (BRAC testing) about 3 years prior to being diagnosed and it all came back negative. That was a true relief and certainly became much less worried for myself and my daughters.
Then I felt a lump back in April of 2014 and decided to right away have it checked. I was nervous, I had a bad feeling...And sure enough my worse nightmare became a reality. I will never ever forget the call from the radiologist who did my biopsy. I thanked him, felt numb for a while, told myself I will beat this and that day I just had questions.. why? why me? what about the BRAC negative? what about my daughters? what will be the action plan? why now that we moved to a place we barely still know anyone? why do we live so far from my family?
As it started sinking in, I started getting more nervous. A week later I had my first appointment with the surgeon as well as with the oncologist. Though I knew so much of the lingo from having gone through it with my Mother, a lot was also so unknown. Especially as I learned my cancer was Triple Negative. Triple what? that is good then right? WRONG... it is amongst the most aggressive type of breast cancers. Unlike hormone positive breast cancer, there is still not specific treatment for it, there is no pill to take after all treatments did their thing.
I came back home and started to learn as much as possible about it. It started to scare me more and more and that is when the tears got the best of me. I cried and cried, and was mad, furious, upset at the world, upset at no longer having my Mother or Aunt around to ask them questions, have their support.
Once my medical team and I decided on the plan of action, I started feeling stronger again. I knew I could not go into this just with Western medicine, so I was also followed by an amazing lady Hima Dalal at Vital Energy who helped me through physical therapy as well as reiki and ayuverda. My plan of action was to start with a bi-lateral mastectomy. I wanted the cancer out of my body, and fast. Also I wanted to lower the chances of reoccurrence, though I realize with TNBC who knows and it can easily spread just about anywhere less in the body with no explanation-simply it can or not happen-then followed by 4 rounds of AC every two weeks and 12 rounds of Taxol once a week.
On November 24th I rang the bell!
There are so many things we all take for granted and only going through a journey as such do we really understand the meaning of LIFE, and slowly become a new us. We will NEVER be the same, physically and emotionally. Never ever. We simply become a new us, which takes time to figure out.