“You have breast cancer.” For many, once they hear the word “cancer”, they believe that their life will never be the same. It’s hard to articulate what those words feel like and what we equate them with. Cancer is such a frightening word. Many of us immediately equate “The C-Word” with death, chemotherapy, hair loss, nausea, and in the case of breast cancer, losing our breasts.
We view cancer to be a formidable enemy, and we believe ourselves needing to engage in a battle, a war. After the initial shock subsides, it’s important to recognize that cancer is a journey, not a battle. There are many reasons to be hopeful. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of women living healthy lives beyond breast cancer. It’s important to understand your diagnosis, the specifics of your cancer, and your treatment options. The “C-Word” is a challenge. Surround yourself with the best medical team and focus on taking one step at a time.
What happens when treatment ends? Are we survivors? Do we return to our lives as they once were; absent doctors, constant appointments, treatments, and breast cancer screenings? Instead are we full of hope, and encouraged by the promise of tomorrow? The answer is yes. But for many, unfortunately, there is also a nagging fear, the uncertainty of recurrence. “Did they get it all?” “Did I do enough?”
This is natural and to be expected. It’s important to remember that although you can’t control cancer, you can control your positive spirit and choose to focus on each day by living in the present and not allowing the unknowns of tomorrow to take precedence in your life.
Don’t deny your fears, but instead talk to others who've been through it as well. Their understanding will help ease your anxieties. Time will help heal and remember that every day is an opportunity for a step in the right direction.