7 Ways to overcome the shock of a breast cancer diagnosis
Understanding and coping with your breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, but these tips from Efrat Roman, founder of CureDiva.com, will keep you moving.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, and it can do severe damage to a woman's femininity, beauty and functionality. That's why maintaining your personal style, confidence, dignity and femininity after a diagnosis is extremely important.
What do you do to overcome your diagnosis "shock" and get back to being the confident, poised and fun woman you know you are? Here are some tips to keep you moving.
1. Get emotional
If there's a time in life for panic, it will be at your diagnosis. There's no way to avoid it. Let the fears cross your body and mind. Cry. Ask for loved ones' nearness, support and advice, and give yourself some time alone. Limit the panic's duration to a few days, because later, you have to start saving your life.
2. Get rational
Read your medical documents and get familiar with the terms and names your diagnosis carries. Go to BreastCancer.org and read about your specific type and stage of cancer. Don't overload. Read as much as you need to or can contain — it is a bright, simple and user-friendly site, but if you need someone else to do it for you and give you only the highlights, ask him or her to do it.
3. Get organized
A cancer diagnosis brings a flood of bureaucracy and assignments. Your time is melting between hospital visits, and you are overwhelmed with physical, emotional and personal issues. Set priorities. Get everything unimportant delayed. Make lists! You can find terrific do and don't-do lists made by and for women coping with breast cancer at CureDiva's community.
4. Get ready
Breast cancer brings not only threats to life but also some very hard challenges concerning our femininity, self-esteem and body image. Facing these challenges is one of the hardest aspects of facing breast cancer, but it does not mean you have to give up your style. There are some great, stylish solutions for each of the side effects you will be coping with. At CureDiva, we have gathered all of them, from eyebrows and compressions through special bras and breast forms to wicking cloths and hand fans. We've also divided them by the different phases to make it easier for you.
5. Get realistic
You will hear a lot of descriptions about the procedures you are about to have and their expected outcomes, but nothing will be like facing reality for what it is. Look for pictures of other women who went through the same procedures. You can check The SCAR Project. It's not an easy site to look at, but it will be harder if you wake up from surgery and only then find out what it is like.
6. Get help
Your breast cancer journey will bring many decisions you'll have to make at the deepest levels — as well as the ongoing drives, laundry and food making. Your family and friends want to help, and by giving them clear tasks, you will help them help you. You can also be helped by therapists and specialists, to whom the medical staff can refer you, and by designated websites and online support groups. But the best help you can get is from others who have been in the same place. For one-on-one support, check the Guardian Divas at CureDiva.com.
7. Get some control over your life
One of the hardest things that comes with diagnosis is the loss of control over your daily routine. As soon as and as much as you can, gain some of it back. You will be able to deal with everything with much more focus and energy — both of which are very precious during treatment.
Learn how to moderate and get things set and done in advance. You can use the CureDiva stages tool, be exposed to the needs each phase will bring, and get answers, tips, advice, support and products designed to solve each phase's particular side effects.