5 Things About Breast Cancer You Should Take to Heart
Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
(#20 in a series)
As a triple-negative breast cancer survivor, there’s a lot I could tell you about the process. In fact, this is my 20th blog post on the topic. But the most important things I want you to take away from this series are really quite simple. I hope you take them to heart.
1. Touch yourself. Be familiar with your breasts. Get to know them like the back of your hand. Like the majority of breast cancer patients I’ve met or spoken to in this past year, I’m the one who discovered my breast lump.
2. Take breast lumps seriously. If you find a lump in your breast, don’t give in to the temptation to dismiss it. Breast cancer can happen to you. Even if you never smoked. Even if you eat right. Even if you think you’re making all the right choices. Even if there’s never been a case of cancer in your family. Even if …
3. Call the doctor. Don’t waste precious time. Sure, you’re busy, but that’s a terrible reason to die. Ignorance is not bliss. If it turns out to be a false alarm, then whew! Now treat yourself to something special for your troubles. If it turns out to be cancer, early treatment may greatly increase your chances of long-term survival.
4. Cancer treatment is a bitch. So is premature death. Remember what’s at stake for you and your loved ones. You’re tougher than you think. Be an active patient. Learn all you can, question doctors, and make informed decisions based on fact, not fear.
5. Never stop living. No matter how bad you feel. No matter if you’re bald as a newborn baby and people look at you funny or if food has lost its allure or if you’ve lost weight and your clothes hang funny or if you’re missing a breast or two and your prosthesis is the wrong size or whatever else is out of whack. You have no idea how long you’ll be here — just like every other human being on the planet, whether they realize it or not. As long as you’re alive … live.
Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Series
#1 The Lump in my Breast: Meeting the Enemy
#2 Most Breast Lumps are Non-Cancerous: Would mine be?
#3 The Mammogram, the Ultrasound, and ‘the Look’
#4 The Biopsy and Breast Cancer Confirmation
#5 A New Twist: It’s Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
#6 Before the Mastectomy: Planning for the Future
#7 Mastectomy Day: What it’s like to lose a breast
#8 After the Mastectomy: Unveiling and Staging
#9 10 Odd Things to Say to Someone with Breast Cancer
#10 Cancer Battle Plan Phase 2: Chemotherapy
#11 5 Things I Love About my Very Expensive Health Insurance
#12 10 Simple Gestures of Kindness with Healing Power
#13 Half a Year on Chemotherapy and Taking Nothing for Granted
#14 Breast Cancer Treatment: Weighing Reward and Risk
#15 The Radiation Decision, The Long Road, The Badge of Honor
#16 The Healing Power of Nurses
#17 Grieving Son Recounts Mom’s Battle with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
#18 Searching for “Normal” After Cancer
#19 “Did You Beat Cancer?” they want to know
Access all posts in the Living with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Series
Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo