One day your life is normal (whatever your 'normal' may be). The next thing you know, you're diagnosed with Breast Cancer and suddenly you feel as if your 'normal life' has just exploded. No matter how much you thought you knew about Breast Cancer, when you hear the words "You have Cancer", you realize that you don’t know nearly enough.
Your mind races with "What If's". On the movie screen in your mind a movie plays, starring you and all the things that might happen -- surgery, chemotherapy, hair loss, death --- all the harrowing experiences movies and TV shows have depicted in heart-breaking detail. And the more frequently that 'movie in your head' repeats itself, the more difficult it becomes to think clearly.
Unfortunately, when you've just heard the words "You have Cancer" the ability to 'think clearly' becomes a bit difficult (to say the least), and equally unfortunately, after hearing those words, thinking clearly becomes a matter of life and death.
For a Step-By-Step Guide to EXACTLY what to do after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, please read the article entitled "FIRST THINGS FIRST". But for the purposes of a 'brief overview' of what to do, please continue reading THIS article.
After being told that you have cancer, the very first thing to do is to get a Second Opinion! Do not put yourself through surgery, or Chemotherapy, or Radiation on the ‘say so’ of some overworked doctor who may have delegated your test results to some under-experienced medical technician who can’t tell a Tumor from a Tonsil. Even the most experienced doctors and Radiologists can make a mistake, so by all means Get A Second Opinion!
If Surgery is recommended, find a surgeon who has lots of hands-on experience with cancer-related Breast Surgery. If Mastectomy is recommended, meet with a Plastic Surgeon BEFORE you undergo the procedure. (and not just ANY Plastic Surgeon, but a Plastic Surgeon who specializes in Mastectomy-related Breast Reconstruction! To read more about the necessity of meeting with a Plastic Surgeon before undergoing a Mastectomy, please read the article "FIRST THINGS FIRST".) To read more about how to choose a doctor, click on "Choosing The Right Doctor For You".
Whatever decisions you make, make them consciously. Make them based on sound medical advice and up-to-date information. Do not allow fear to dictate your decisions. Know that not everything you find on the Internet is reliable or current. Use the information on BreastCancerWarrior.net and the Resources and Links provided on this Site to help guide you through the parallel Universe of Breast Cancer. We take no money or compensation of any kind in exchange for our recommendations. If BreastCancerWarrior.net endorses or recommends a treatment, product, or Resource, we have done so only because the BC Warriors here at BreastCancerWarrior.net have used them and found them beneficial.
Know that whatever thoughts or emotions you experience during your Journey, you are not the only Breast Cancer Warrior who has thought or felt them. Anger. Fear. Frustration. Confusion. Self-Pity. Doubt. Dread. Loneliness. They are natural. They are ‘normal’. They come with the territory! (To read much more about the emotional component of the journey through Breast Cancer, click on 'COPING STRATEGIES' and then read the article entitled "Maintaining Your Sanity")
While the vast majority of Breast Cancer Warriors are women, men can and do find themselves facing Breast Cancer. The statistics say that 1 in 100 men develop the disease but, of course, if you happen to be that one, your personal statistics rise from 1% to 100%. To help you learn about your treatment options, WebMd has devoted a section of their Breast Cancer site to you. For information about Breast Cancer in men, click on this link: www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/guide/breast-cancer-men
A diagnosis of Breast Cancer gives you immediate life-time membership in 'The Club Nobody Wants To Join'. But, having joined, there are many choices you now must make. Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation, Alternative Treatment, Clinical Trials....each is a choice.
Because today there is no proven cure, there is no one certain, infallible path. Therefore, we here at BreastCancerWarrior.net urge you to become familiar with all the available options. Seek the advice of qualified professionals. Weigh your options using your head and your heart. Ponder the potential risks and benefits.
Don't allow anyone (doctor, friend, partner, or family member) to bully you into doing what THEY think you should do, or what they would do if they were in your situation. They're not in 'your' situation -- you are, and you must do what you truly believe will be best for you. Think carefully, then choose the path and treatments you most believe in.
The healing power of belief is a documented scientific fact. There are countless stories of people who have survived cancer after taking placebos, herbs or drugs that they truly believed would cure them, despite the fact that these remedies had not been scientifically proven to be effective. It was not the placebo that saved them -- it was their belief in them.
And so we say to you, Breast Cancer Warrior -- examine your options, then choose what you most believe in, and believe with all your heart that Miracles DO happen....because they do!
We wish you peace. We wish you well.
-- Brooke Jones -- Editor-In-Chief/BreastCancerWarrior.net