Monday, October 19, 2009

advice (with the benefit of hindsight)

Last week, the Centretown Buzz (an Ottawa community paper) asked me to write the article that "I wish I could have read when I was first diagnosed."

It's on the front page of this week's issue, and begins like this:

On December 1st, 2005, I found a lump in my breast, as I was getting undressed. One month later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was 38 years old, with two young kids and a very hectic life. I felt completely blind-sided.

Almost four years later, and with the benefit of hindsight, I share some advice for others who find themselves in my situation.

As I looked back on the last few years, the following key points best summarize my advice:

Bring someone with you to appointments, especially in the beginning.

Be your own advocate.

Be nice to the admin staff and nurses.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

Let others help you.

Never give up hope.

The entire article is online, so you can read it for yourself.

Let me know what you think. And if you've been there, please don't hesitate to share some of your hard-earned experience.


AlisonH said...

And: every time you do something kind for some of the medical staff, how they see their job changes just a little bit. There is a ripple effect that keeps on going and might make things easier for someone out there whom you may never know a thing about.

Hang in there. My kids were 2, 4, 6, and 8 when I was told I had the disease that had killed a cousin the week before her wedding date, and things did not look good. 19 years later, I'm still here. And my kids grew up to be loving, kind adults, aware of the fragility of life and the necessity of compassion.

AlisonH said...

p.s. And best wishes with your book launch! I'd come if it weren't 3000+ miles.

laurie said...

Alison!!! So graet to hear from you. And thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Laurie,

Makes me want to travel the 3,000 miles just to visit with Alison H. Your readers and contributors don't just rock; they also have soul.

B in T

Del said...

Hi Laurie,
I sent you an anonymous message back in June when you were trying to reduce your chemo over the summer. I was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer with mets to my liver 2.5 years ago. I went on Taxotere and Herceptin and my mets were totally obliterated. I've been on maintenance Herceptin only ever since. I finally picked up a copy of your book, and I'm about halfway through it. I totally relate to what you've been through, with having young kids when diagnosed, with the emotional aspect, reactions to treatment, etc. Excellent book, wish I could be at the Toronto release. All the best!

Christine said...

Great advice Laurie. Here are some additional thoughts from my blog about being diagnosed with metastatic cancer.

Brenda said...

Great advice. We need to keep saying these things over and over.

Ghocheng said...

Hai, thanks for the link to pdf file.

JuliaR said...

I also think it is great advice.

My adds: Avoid negative people as much as you can. That one is difficult especially if they are in your family (thankfully mine weren't). Come up with a plausible excuse for why you have to run away from them when they get to be too much. Even "I have to have a nap" can get you out of negative circumstances.

Move forward. Mentally, physically.

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