What I Wish I’d Known About Breast Cancer

My cell phone rang while driving to my son’s basketball game; he was in 4th gradeand about to play his elementary school’s archrival. I was supposed to watchhis game for 30 minutes and then pick up my daughter from her tennis match. But when my doctor told me I had “a couple of cancer cells,” I pulled the car over and cried. “Does this mean I have breast cancer?” I asked myself later; I hadn’t asked the doctor because my mind had shut down when I heard those words. I was too young to have cancer, I thought — I was only 44 years old. I was too busy to have cancer.

I had a thousand questions racing through my mind. But,slowly – too slowly – some were answered and I progressed with my treatment.After 10 long months my treatment ended in late 2004 and I was pronounced “cancer-free,” andI headed into my “survivorship years.” I’ve learned a lot about breast cancer and my body in the past 4 years and there were some things I learned that Iwished the doctors – or someone – had told me sooner:

I wish someone had told me that my body would be thrown into permanent menopause.Not the gradual, “life change” menopause, but the one-day-I-have-estrogen-and-the-next-day-I-don’t kind, thanks to the chemodrugs, which basically shut down my ovaries. Suddenly, I was worried aboutmy skin’s elasticity, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness – not to mention weight gain.

I wish someone had told me that the doctors don’t make any treatment decisions for you. The first month after my diagnosis, I went to the doctor expecting him to tell me what to do. He never did. He laid out my options and I had to decide what was best for me. I was in limbo for that first month until I had my surgery. Itdrove me crazy!

I wish I’d known that some of my friends and family wouldn’t always know the right thing to say,if anything at all. I had a first cousin who basically stopped talking to me.She didn’t know what to say, so she avoided me at all costs.

Going through breast cancer treatment is a slow and emotionally painful process. But, as I learned, a survivor is just that: one who wants to thrive and live. I went through this test for myself, my husband, and my kids.

VickiTashman lives in Los Angeles, where she is the founder of Pink Link (www.pink-link.org).

 

Visit Breast Cancer: Healing the Whole Woman to read all of our breast cancer content.

 

What If We Win?

Deepak’s post today – “Why Democrats Lose” – really shifted my attention from the frenetic pace and tone of these final weeks of the presidential campaign to a key failure for which the Bush administration is roundly criticized in its handling of the Iraq War. Virtually unanimous consensus has it that failure to plan for victory and the post-war recovery of Iraq has been disastrous.

THREE HIGHLY ENERGIZED MIRACLE WORKERS


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THREE HIGHLY ENERGIZED MIRACLE WORKERS


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OUR TERTUIM ORGANUM AND OUR SMELLING SENSE.


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