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Introduction to Breast Cancer

In this section you will learn about your cancer. This is probably the best thing you can do for yourself. A smart patient makes a better patient, and she also becomes a better advocate for herself.

There is a lot asked of you right now. You have been asked to not only take in this devastating diagnosis, but you are somehow expected to understand medical jargon by osmosis.

Being newly diagnosed, with all the unknowns and scary stats, is the worst time of the entire ordeal. Right now, this is it: the very worst. Believe it or not, things get better as you learn about cancer, treatments, and you get your plan in place. The unknowns become known, the stats are seen for what they really are: outdated numbers that deal in percentages and not human beings.

The Five Coping Mechanisms a New Diagnosed Woman should follow:

1. Don’t think too far ahead. Deal with only what you have to deal with now. Don’t project into the future. Don’t start worrying about next Thanksgiving. Think about what you need to do today and tomorrow.

2. Learn as much as you can. Be armed with knowledge. When you meet with your doctors things will be much clearer if you have an understanding of what is happening to your body.

3. Give yourself permission to expect only the best outcome. It is OK to be scared. But it is also OK to believe that you will be on the positive side of the percentage points that are being thrown at you. Someone has to make up the positive side and why shouldn’t it be you?

4. Find a survivor. You are here - and that is a great! You have done the right thing. Only another breast cancer survivor can tell you what it really is like and can show you how very doable this disease is. Join our
message board. There are women there in all stages of diagnosis, treatment and life beyond cancer.

5. Breathe. You will get through this. There will be a day where you turn around and say, “I made it through all they asked of me.” And you will find your life waiting for you to pick up where you left off. Hope happens here. Believe in it.

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