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Aug 14, 2019 04:33PM
Mental/emotional health is incredibly important to me. I have used several avenues to find the perfect blend of support including:
1) When I was diagnosed, I saw a couple different therapists before settling in on one woman who is a psychologist. We just clicked and I knew I was home. 2+ years later and I still see her every other week, or more, if there is a need. Initially, I was seeing her 2x/week, then went to 1x/week and now down to 1x/every two weeks which feels good for me right now. She has REALLY helped me get my life on track after having the diagnosis. We have worked through the stress, anxiety, difficult convos with family and friends, and also she has helped me get my act together around finances (always been something I have not given much thought to and I have been a person who has flown by the seat of my pants). So now the financial strain of MBC and my need to take good care of myself and the $$ it will cost to do so is a stressor for me. I have always been a huge fan of therapy and have voluntarily taken myself to therapy since I was about 22 years old, on and off again. I have worked with the most amazing therapists as well as fired a couple terrible ones.
2) I also get massages through UniteForHer's program, every two weeks. I consider this somatic therapy. It works out the issues in my tissues that get stressed out from all the emotional/mental/and pharmacological impact on my body. I love my massage therapist and we have a very loving and open dialogue. She is the head of The Reiki School in Philadelphia and trains reiki practitioners who volunteer at one of the big hospitals here, giving free reiki treatments to people in the oncology centers (including patient's loved ones/support/caregivers).
3) Medication became a necessity for me after I tried to cope with the emotional aspect for a year with some success but not enough. I am one of the fortunate people who's oncology center also have oncology psychiatrists on their team. So I met with them and got myself onto Lexapro which feels like a godsend!
4) Guided meditation helps me get through the dark moments and stormy weather of my mind. It helps me calm down and slow down or stop the "what ifs." It is what helps me make through sleepless nights and pulls me out of deep depressive thoughts.
5) Lastly, exercise is therapy to me and so important for my mental health. I struggle daily to get myself to exercise (in fact, I haven't done any today, yet!). I am my own worst enemy when it comes to exercise. I ALWAYS feel better when I am done, and so proud of myself. The day feels complete. If I don't exercise, I start to feel somewhat claustrophobic and itching to get out of my skin. I feel anxiety creep in. Exercise helps me clear this away. When I exercise it typically includes some levels of cardio, weights, core, stretching and strengthening. It doesn't always feel good the next day, but it gets easier the more I do it.
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3/25/2017, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC)
4/5/2017 Femara (letrozole)