As we close Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Orlando Cosmetic Surgery can not help but utilize a blog to recognize and officially support the current friends, relatives and patients who are battling the disease.
We also celebrate the survivors and remember those loved ones who have lost the battle.
It would have been hard to miss the photograph of special correspondent Joan Lunden who bravely shared her bald appearance and her open discussion of experiences since her diagnosis with breast cancer.
She stated, “Doctors found two tumors in my right breast, both triple negative breast cancer, which means it’s more aggressive and faster growing. From the moment you hear the words, ‘You have breast cancer,’ it’s almost like you’re shot out of a cannon. You are just propelled at this meteoric speed straight to a cancer surgeon.”
In a video this month, she spoke eloquently of her breast cancer battle, and shared the things she wished she had known before her diagnosis.
Orlando Cosmetic Surgery believes these “Nine Things” are appropriate to many patients. We have paraphrased and summarized them for you:
Joan Lunden’s Special Things!
1. You are your own patient advocate
Lunden stated, “I never understood that after you hear those words, you’re met with differing opinions about how you should go forward.” She explained how she collected several opinions, and a massive amount of information before assembling her plan of attack on the cancer and making her personal choices for chemo, surgery and healing.
She said, “Every single breast cancer is different — that’s got to be front and center in your brain. You have to decide: just because it’s protocol, does that necessarily mean it’s right for you?”
2. Hair-loss? Don’t worry about it!
She described the baldness from chemo quite appropriately as, “it’s like someone drew a picture of you and they erased the hair. It’s still you — it just doesn’t look like you.” She posed bald for “People” magazine and stated…”It won’t define me and I’ll go on and I’ll be here for my children and my husband.”
3. The Lunden “Warrior Mode”
Joan Lunden advises being positive and keeping a healthy mindset, no matter how negative the diagnosis is. She told herself she would “beat this, no matter what.”
4. Watch Your Diet
She reformed her concept of nutrition, saying, “Since my diagnosis, I have switched over to eating nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods that don’t cause any inflammation in my body.” She added, “When I was given an eating regimen that I was told could save my life, it became an empowering, life saving eating program, not a diet of deprivation.”
5. “It’s important to become a voracious label reader!”
She reformed her grocery store behavior, “Sugar is added to almost everything we buy and eat. Step away from that soda: Sugary drinks raise cancer risk for women, study finds.”
6. Combat Fear of Needles
She had her own special way to fight against needle fear when enduring chemotherapy. “I went and got a port put into my upper left chest so that they could give me all my chemotherapy that way. It meant that they weren’t always going through the veins in my arm. Anyone going through chemotherapy should absolutely talk to their doctor about getting a port.”
7. “Give yourself some TLC!”
She stated, “Sometimes, chemo felt like they were dropping a napalm bomb on me. You have to learn to give into it.” She explained that women who are go-getters need to learn to “stop pushing through,” and listen to the body when it says it is tired. Busy, type A ladies often find this very difficult to do, but you can not fool the medical tests. Dial it down. You need to get your rest, as cliche as that sounds!
8. Your Invaluable Support System
Her words on the key factor of a support system echo many other patient’s sentiments, “I have found my strength in my family and my friends and they have just been completely amazing.”
Another piece of her sage advice is take a friend to appointments, and to have that friend help take notes about what your doctors tells you. “I’ve got all the notes. I’ll go back and think, what did they say to me at that point?”
She stated, “A mammogram is sometimes not enough. Be vigilant: Early detection gives you the best prognosis.” Her unique comment was something all women can observe: “When you go in to get your mammogram, ask them: Are my breasts fatty tissue? Or are they dense fibrous tissue? You need to know that.” She commented, “If they say they’re dense and fibrous, you need to fight to get that ultrasound.” (See comment number one!)
Joan Lunden would be the first to admit that her ways of coping with her diagnosis might n0t be the same as yours. Every case is different, but every bit of information helps patients make their own battling and healing decisions.
As we close the 2014 calendar on Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we repeat that for us, Breast Cancer Awareness continues 24/7, every day of the year. Please feel free to visit with Orlando Cosmetic Surgery if you are diagnosed with breast cancer. As we said in our previous blog, you will face many decisions and options for your healing as well as for your battle. We are on your side. We can give you all of your options for healing, and we can be part of that all-important support system, your team.