Thank you for your honesty and sharing your story with us. Learning to accept help can be difficult, but it is a time in your life when you really need support.
It was a routine trip for a mammogram procedure. The radiologist found a white spot that looked concerning so off I went for a biopsy. That was pretty scary, as I was not really sure what to expect. The doctor had done his best to prepare me but nothing can actually prepare someone unless they are going through it. After the biopsy I went home and waited for the results. 3 days later the call came it was DCIS, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, the physician assistant went on talking about what it was, where it was and that we need to get a surgery date set up right now, the more she talked the faster her words came. I told her to wait, that I was not going to do anything for 2 weeks, I needed time to digest everything and that I had a zillion questions and I had people I needed to talk to. My sister, mother and a very good friend are breast cancer survivors so I got on the phone with them and explained what was happening. They were very supportive and gave me advice and the types of questions I need to ask and also told me to look on the Internet for more information and also call a cancer center near me and talk to them. I did all this and the more I searched the more information I found the more confusing I became. Not sure what to do next, I called my primary care physician and set up an appointment with her and shared with her what I knew. She was encouraging and let me know that it was OK to take some time. And that I need to keep a notebook and write down my questions and the answers I received, she also advised me to either take a friend or a tape recorder and let it record the entire time I am visiting with the doctor because later I will have questions and I need to remind myself what the answer was.
After the 2 weeks I set up my appointment for surgery, once the surgery was done and I got home, I did what I felt like I could do. If I couldn’t do it or didn’t feel up to it I didn’t do it. The hardest part was asking for help and then letting them do it. I sit here now, the night before my doctor’s appointment to check to make sure all is healing well and then in 2 days I go and visit with the oncologist to set up my radiation treatments. They want me to go everyday Monday through Friday for 6 weeks.
During and up to this point in time, my emotions have run amuck. Thoughts of suicide, thoughts of not going to the radiation treatments, thoughts of going back to work and then taking on a 2nd full time job, thoughts of my body is deformed and that I am no longer attractive not even to my husband, thoughts of what did I do in my life that caused God to hate me so much that He allowed this to happen to me. And thoughts of if I survived this, what is going to hit me next. And then let’s talk about the tears; at first they never came, I had to help my husband deal with this so I had to be strong. Once he got over the initial shock then it was my turn to fall apart, I have actually cried twice. I didn’t have anyone that I could call and talk to at that moment so I had to let the tears flow and then pull myself together. I feel better after letting the tears out, but feel worse because I cried you know the headache and puffy eyes that follows.
Cancer is a word that scares the bejebers out of people but with the improvements in modern medicine it doesn’t have to scare us. The best advice I can give you is to gather people around you who you trust and know will be supportive and let them help you. Either make meals, clean the house, or cry on their shoulders. We need the release and love that women can give each other.
I know that men need it too, but I am not sure where they can turn to, I wish I had some answers for them.
Love your fellow cancer survivor