When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2012 at the age of 37, my world was turned upside down. My particular flavor of cancer was stage 1, grade 3, triple negative infiltrating ductal carcinoma. That’s a mouthful, huh? I had my bi-lateral mastectomy performed and one month later I began six months of ACT (Adriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxol) chemotherapy.
While I can’t guarantee that your road will be without bumps, in fact, I can almost assure you that there will be bumps, I can offer you some insights that helped me along the way. So, buckle up and hold on tight, you can do this.
Good luck to you my friend. I’m sending you love and strength.
1. Get a temporary handicap placard
Cancer is a full-time job with a million and one doctor’s appointments. Do yourself a favor and sign up for this with your local DMV. Most states let you do it online. Be warned, it can take a few weeks to process and receive the darn thing, so put this one near the top of your list if you can. Trust me, you will be overjoyed when you easily locate a spot by the front door of your destination.
2. Discuss you fertility preservation options
I’m always amazed at how many women and men aren’t told about the effects that chemo can have on your ability to conceive. If your team of doctors hasn’t discussed this with you, make them. Ask questions and demand answers. Since we haven’t yet figured out how to turn back time, I don’t want you to regret not knowing about this. Don’t let anyone pressure you one way or the other on this front. Do what feels right for you.
3. Start a blog or CaringBridge site so you don’t have to answer the same questions again and again
When a medical event like cancer happens to you, everybody wants to know what’s going on. It’ll become difficult to talk to every single person who cares about you, so use social media to keep everyone in the loop.
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