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Jul 17, 2019 09:26AM
Jul 17, 2019 09:27AM
I'm a bit late to the party, but figured I would chime in with my experience to date. I'm single (43), live alone with two cats, no family nearby (one younger sister lives in a different province). I was FREAKING out when I got the diagnosis, because most of my friends are around the same age and busy with work, family, and their own lives.
1. Accept help and ask for what you need. I have been blown away by the love and support my friends have provided. From taking me to appointments, staying with me in the hospital during surgery and chemo, spending the night at my place following surgery, bringing me food, etc. The list is endless. Their offers of help weren't empty. The largest obstacle to receiving help has been me letting go of being my strong, independent self.
2. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. I was petrified of starting chemo because I lived alone. I was scared that I would be too fatigued or sick to do anything. So I stocked my freezer with individual lasagnas, prepped smoothie packs, anything that required minimal work. Luckily my first chemo went well and I only used a few of the prepared items. I also made sure to have people who were willing to be my 'on call' in case of emergency. One will take me to the hospital if I get a fever and one will come take care of the cats if I'm hospitalized. Just knowing this alleviated so much of my anxiety. I also have a bag packed by the door in case I need to go to the hospital.
3. I was strong before diagnosis, and I'm still strong now. Give yourself the credit you deserve for being a strong independent woman. Recognize that asking for help doesn't take away from your strength.
4. Join a local support group. This has been one of the most helpful pieces for me. Much like this forum, the women I met have provided such love and support as I go through my own process. All of them were ahead of me and they have been phenomenal with giving me tips and tricks based on their own experiences.
5. Everyone is different. You're going to read and hear about other people's journeys. Remember that every one and every cancer is unique. What may be difficult for one was easy for another. Resist seeking out those worst case scenarios and working yourself up because you can't imagine how you would do it alone.
I feel like I've blathered on long enough. From one single gal to another - YOU GOT THIS!
DX at age 43. Weak staining ER, Oncotype score 50, BRCA1 mutation. Lost both parents to cancer in 2018.
4/17/2019, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC)
4/30/2019 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel
7/4/2019 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
1/19/2020 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right
Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)