Breast Cancer Awareness month is October, which happens to be a long month. I mean you see Halloween decorations up forever until the actual day! Similarly, breast cancer can be a long drawn out saga.
From diagnosis to treatment end can easily be 8 months to a year or more. Then if radiation is involved, well let’s just say in the world of breast cancer we call it the gift that keeps on giving!
Surgeries need recovery time to have additional surgeries. If Chemo took your hair, it takes time for it to grown back.
Bouncing back from the saga of breast cancer is long. It can be fraught with many obstacles until you feel like you, before breast cancer!
After treatments it is not uncommon for the breast cancer patient/survivor to become depressed or anxious. It happened to me! If you have a friend or loved one going through the disease treatments here are a few tips:
- Every week or couple of weeks the patient is seeing a doctor. After treatment the doctor releases the patient for 6 months or a year before the next check-up. So all of a sudden the patient is on her own with her own anxious thoughts about her health. A good friend is a good sounding board, especially if she herself has gone through the saga!
- Fatigue is a constant side effect of treatments. Patients can delude themselves to think once done with their treatments they can step into the pace of their former life. Rarely does this happen! It was 6 weeks for me before I could stop taking naps.
- Hair usually grows back curly. If the patient has never had curly hair there is a learning curve on how to manage curls. Also there is anxiety if the hair is not growing back quickly. I was delighted when I had to shave my legs again!
- Breast cancer happens. No cure, no vaccine. Get your mammogram and be a good friend to someone going through treatments!