Breast Cancer: Answers to Your Questions
How do you tell the kids? How can you stay calm? There are some questions your doctor can't answer. Here are insights from people who understand – other women with breast cancer.
How am I going to look after treatment? continued...
One last point: Don't be surprised if you gain 10 or 20 pounds during
treatment. Most doctors warn you about losing weight because of nausea. But
some medications cause you to gain weight, and so do many of the foods that
settle your stomach -- mashed potatoes, crackers, etc. Never go on a diet
during treatment without talking to your doctor.
Remember, pamper yourself in every way possible. Eat what you want to eat,
within reason. Buy what you want to buy to make yourself look good in your
eyes. It's important to know yourself, and to give yourself what you need.
What do I tell my kids?
Most women in WebMD's breast cancer community just sat our children down and
told them we had breast cancer. We told them we would probably have an
operation and chemotherapy, and that we would be sick for awhile, but we were
pretty sure we would get better. What you say, of course, depends on how old
your children are. But, keep in mind, your children will feel hurt if you
exclude them from this part of your life. They want to help. And they'll
probably feel a little safer if they're involved.
One woman, a single mother, let her children come to chemotherapy with her,
and asked the kids to hold her hands because they felt cold. (Her hands weren't
really cold but the kids felt so good about helping!) Most moms expect the kids
to help out around the house bit more, or run some errands. Your kids will
probably surprise you with their maturity. But they also need to maintain some
normalcy in their own lives. It helps if they know the new chores are
temporary, and if you arrange for friends to help drive so they don't have to
miss practices or rehearsals.
What can I do to lessen my anxiety?
Talk! Chat online! And take anti-anxiety medication if it helps! Find
support, perhaps through a formal support group, or counseling, or through your
Waiting is one of the worst ordeals you will go through on this journey.
Talk with friends, especially other women with breast cancer. Your friends from
"before" love you, but they don't really understand. Talking with other
survivors can help ward off the worry monster when you're waiting for critical
test results. Remember, chat rooms and message boards throughout the Internet
never close. The web works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and so does the
Sometimes, talk isn't enough. You shouldn't feel surprised if you feel
anxious or depressed; you have good cause. And you shouldn't hesitate to take
medication to help you cope. Talk to your doctor first, of course. Some women
take an anti-anxiety pill only on the days they go in for test results or a CAT
scan. Some take an antidepressant every day. Other women get the
"medicine" they need just talking online. Whatever works for you, do
it. But don't let anxiety or depression drag you down.