The letters in our alphabet do not cause fear until you hear, the phrase, the big C. Some people even call it the C word. Cancer causes so much fear in society that some people do not even want to say the word. A cancer diagnosis absolutely can turn your world upside down, not to mention your family members. How do I know this? Well I have been diagnosed twice. Not to downplay this horrible disease, but how you handle this can make a world of difference! So many things go through your mind. I remember my first diagnosis; my husband and I could not even talk on our drive home. Shock, anger, devastation, are all normal feelings!
Once I pulled myself together, I thought, “ How am I going to tell my family and friends? Do not take this on yourself. My husband started the ball rolling. We would also tell one friend and have them let others know. I knew in my heart that we needed to tell people. When I thought about someone close to me having cancer and I wasn’t there to support them, I realized this was not all about me. However, it was so difficult. I was afraid people would start treating me differently. No way, people were amazing! The support I received was unbelievable. I even took a big step and put it on Facebook. This gave me a whole other support group.
One of the most difficult things about having cancer is the treatment! I have had surgeries, chemo and radiation. The hardest on me was the chemo. You have to understand these are medications meant to kill cancer, so they can be brutal on your body! There are many different types of chemo and side effects that come with it. During my first cancer I had neuropathy in my hands. However, my amazing husband bought me these really cool superhero gloves so I could get things out of the refrigerator on my own. I had chemo for both of my cancers and the side effect I struggled with was nausea. It was horrible! There are many meds to help with this and none of them worked for me. It is important to get nutrition and drink water. The nausea made it really hard. My second cancer was 2019-2020, yes, I went through treatment during Covid! However, in California I could get CBD/THC gummies. This was a GAME CHANGER for me. It gave me windows of opportunity to eat and drink, which I was really having a hard time with. I have talked to other people who had success with the nausea meds.
Battling cancer is no joke! I should know , I had to do it twice. Please understand that none of this is easy. Everything I share is from experience. Here is the advice I can give when you are diagnosed. The first and most important thing I want to say is, DON’T TAKE THIS ON ALONE! Please accept help from family and friends. COMMUNITY IS EVERYTHING! I say this with every ounce of my being. I could not have gotten through this without support. People may want to make your family meals, help with driving to appointments and sit with you during chemo, whatever it might be, say yes. Confidence in your doctors is huge. I had amazing doctors and I feel this helped me stay positive. Speaking of positivity, it is important to keep a positive attitude. You may be thinking, how do I do that? Think about what I have said above. The 2 things that kept me positive was the support from family and friends and the confidence in my doctors. I also joined support groups, in person and on Facebook.
I would like to end with prevention. Living a healthy lifestyle is so important to prevent chronic disease. I have always exercised and eating healthy was important to me. However, I still got cancer, twice. When I thought about this, I realized I did not beat heredity, but I beat cancer. I believe that a healthy lifestyle and great doctors gave me a fighting chance.
To all of you Warriors, I send you Love, Strength and Fortitude!!!