My intention with these suggestions is to acknowledge how breast cancer patients feel when (well-intended) things are said and to offer positive Silver Lined ways to interact with people who are coping with the dreaded disease.
Three weeks ago I was walking in Cape Town, South Africa and three weeks later I was told I will be dead within weeks to a month or so. Life leaves us all with a lot of questions, but I know I don't blame anyone.
Will I ever take my health for granted again? No. That's why I get nervous every six months when I have my regular boobal check-ups and why I see my doctors whenever anything feels the slightest bit wonky.
I became an advocate in the fight against cancer as I saw how powerful my own mother was when her body was at its weakest. As she found the strength to fight, I found a greater sense of purpose in my responsibility as her daughter.
Why am I telling this story for what feels like the 100th time? Because I think it is important to recognize that I am just like you. I am not a hero. I am not particularly brave. If I could get through what I got through, then anyone can get through anything.
One big misnomer in our culture is that doctors (solely) develop a patient's plan of care. No. No. No. This could not be farther from the truth! Patients have a real responsibility to be fully engaged in the development (and revision) of a plan of care.
As a nurse and social worker, I have a unique perspective on decision making because I approach it "from the other side of the bed." I put my professional hat on and ponder: How would I handle this situation if I were counseling a patient?
If the recent past is any indication of Susan G. Komen's future, you must decide if your personal investment and that of your board members and executive team is more important than the success of the foundation.
Why do the media's breast cancer stories come all at once? As you read the multitude of articles and studies, make sure that you remember to ask the key questions in order to really understand the results and implications.
After breast cancer treatment, many women are prescribed aromatase inhibitors to prevent recurrence of estrogen sensitive tumors. These drugs can cause joint pain that leads many women to stop using them, thus increasing their risk of a recurrence.
The story of my niece, Sasha Rau, now 39 years old, running the 26.2 mile New York City Marathon in four hours, 25 minutes, and 58 seconds, two years after being diagnosed with breast cancer is such a triumph and inspirational story for all of us.
Women need to take a more proactive approach to their health. It sounds so simple, but it's something a lot of women don't do. Maybe you don't have the time, you're not sure what to do, or you're uncomfortable talking about it. But we need to make our health a priority.
I still fervently believe that I have never been engaged in a fight with breast cancer. Has this been awful? Has this been a struggle? Has this been a long haul? Absolutely. But, I have still never engaged in a "fight."