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Emotional Responses to Breast Cancer - Understanding the One You Love
Being diagnosed with breast cancer is a life-changing event. A torrent of feelings wash over the survivor. Suddenly, the world feels like an unsafe place. Little things seem unimportant to the survivor. And the big things, like life, seem tenuous. Knowing the emotional responses she is experiencing will help friends, family and fellow survivors support and nurture her, and each other. She needs to be encouraged to fully feel and express each of her feelings.
The most helpful thing you can do is "just stand there" while she goes through the range of emotions. Often we try to "fix" or stop the flow of feelings so we don't experience the pain and discomfort. But transformation and healing occur when feelings are felt and honored, not when they are repressed or denied.
Here are some emotions you might witness:
1. Shock and Disbelief
"There must be some mistake. It can't be happening to me! I'm healthy. I take care of myself!" Disbelief is one of the most prevalent first emotional responses.
Breast cancer survivors are faced with many critical decisions. Often there is a time pressure to make treatment decisions. It helps to have support with research about traditional, alternative and complementary treatment options.
"Am I going to die? Will I be disfigured? Will you still love me? Will I love myself?" These are the major questions hovering in the dark recesses of the survivor's mind. It helps tremendously to bring them up for discussion.
"How sick will I be? Who will take care of the children? How will I deal with loss of income? Will I lose my job?" Once the first wave of personal survival questions are dealt with, these questions wear on the survivor's mind.
"Why me? I don't deserve this! I don't have time or money to deal with this!" Anger, if not expressed, is the most insidious of all emotions. In itself, repressed anger can create disease. Having a healthy outlet for these feelings needs to be part of the breast cancer patient's treatment program.
" I'm not the one this should be happening to! I eat well, exercise, get mammograms, take vitamins! Why should I have to suffer with this disease!" Often there is no logical explanation for the onset of cancer. It's natural that feelings of resentment may arise.
"No one ever is here for me. I'm all alone. I have no friends I can count on. I feel so alone!" Even when family and friends are around to help, often survivors feel isolated and alone. They are unable to ask for the help they want and need.
Sadness prevails when any loss is imminent. Tears may flow profusely as the loss of precious body parts is contemplated. The thought of further illness from chemo treatments may seem unbearable. She needs gentle comfort and frequent reassurance.
She may feel that nobody is listening or really understands her. In actuality, no one else can really understand what she is going through. Every person's experience is unique. Honor her and her uniqueness. Give her space to express her feelings and thoughts.
Seen as a learning opportunity, the breast cancer experience could create a feeling of hope for an entirely new and different life, one filled with passion, fulfillment, joy and love. Knowing that life is ongoing, and only the body dies, can give great comfort during this otherwise stressful time.
Copyright 2005 Dr. Talia Miller - The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach
Dr. Talia Miller, sought after breast cancer coach, author and trainer is a long-term breast cancer thriver. Her passion is to coach breast Cancer survivors so they can THRIVE! Contact her at t@BreastCancerCoach.com, or visit her website to arrange for a complimentary consultation.
She is the founding director of the Breast Cancer Support Center, a 501c3 non-profit specializing in utilizing the body-mind-spirit connection, and the outstanding healing program, "From Survivor to Thriver ─ The Breakthrough Program for Beating Breast Cancer?". The Center offers free educational seminars by PHONE on prevention and avoiding recurrence. Email Director@BreastCancerSupportCenter.org to register. Also available, personal retreats in Grass Valley, CA to help survivors become thrivers.
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Breast Cancer Awareness and Prevention Tips
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Men and women can take preventative steps for avoiding breast cancer and staying healthy.
In December of 2001, breast cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. I was busy.
The News You Dont Want To Hear: Youve Got Breast Cancer
For many people being told that they have cancer is one of the most stressful times in their lives. Just as we think we have everything under control, something comes along that can shatter even the strongest of wills.
Breast Cancer - 101
The cancer is a term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably invading near by tissue and spreading to other parts of the body via blood stream or lymphatic system.Similarly, in breast cancer, a single cell begins to divide and grow abnormally.
Naural Self-Defense Against Breast Cancer - Learning to Cope Successfully with Organochlorine Pollut
What are organochlorines?Organochlorines are chemicals found in some herbicides and pesticides, in chlorine bleach and most chemical disinfectants, and many plastics, especially PVC (polyvinylchloride).Organochlorines are implicated in causing and promoting breast cancer because they mutate genes and they cause breast cells to become more receptive to a cancer-promoting chemical called estradiol.
Mammograms Are No Joke - They Can Save Lives!
There are so many jokes about mammograms! Have you heard the one about the fridge door ?or the bookends ?or the garage floor? Thanks to all the jokes, "Mammogram" has become a household word, and it's not that I don't have a sense of humor, but as a mammography technologist, I've heard the jokes many times. I think the jokes are embarrassing for women and demeaning with regard to their physical bodies.
Your Risk of Cancer Can Increase With Weight Gain!
We hear it all the time?lose weight for your health. Few people however, realize the extent to which this is critical to their physical well-being and ultimately their life expectancy.
There it is again. I muttered to myself, frustrated as I washed my arm.
Early Breast Cancer Detection
Most women are familiar with mammography as our "gold standard" for breast cancer screening. However, there are additional tools available that women can add to their arsenal.
Fourteen Simple Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Risk for Breast Cancer
1. Increase your consumption of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.
Recommendations For Early Breast Cancer Screening
Women need to empower themselves about the benefits and risks of mammography and examine the additional screening tools available today. One current philosophy suggests breast health screening should begin at age 25.
Breast Cancer for Beginners
Introduction Because of the social changes, which has brought increased number of workingwoman and hence delayed childbearing, there has been a steep rise in the number of breast cancer patients in the last few decades. But as the incidence of the patients has risen so has raised the modality of treatments and the success rates.
My First Thermographic Experience
I had been a bit nervous all day wondering what my thermogram procedure would entail. Would I need to undress completely? Would I be given one of those paper gowns that opens in the front and barely covers me? Would there be any heat coming out of the camera? I had been avoiding a mammogram after reading the latest information about the risks associated with X-ray; knowing that I was potentially putting myself at greater risk by not taking charge of my health.
Breast Cancer The Cure
You have my permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated.
Finding the Spirit - Identifying the Enemy
In the daily fight for survival our vision is blurred because our health is compromised. This is when the enemy attacks- we lose focus and become vulnerable.
Breast Cancer Statistics - How Breast Cancer Survival Rates Increased 50%
Breast cancer statistics show that over 1.2 million persons will be diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide this year, according to the World Health Organization.
New Hope to Prevent Breast Cancer: What Every Woman Needs to Know
In March, 2005, a major nutritional breakthrough in the fight against breast cancer was announced by U.S.
Are Obese Women Getting Short-Changed By Chemotherapy Treatments?
How much chemotherapy does an obese woman need? Typically an obese woman with breast cancer would receive reduced doses of chemotherapy as they battle breast cancer.Back in June of 2005, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that obese women should receive chemotherapy based on their actual weight, and not in reduced as amounts as it the standard practice.
Antiperspirants And Breast Cancer
Most underarm antiperspirants contain as the active ingredient, Aluminium Chlorohydrate, as you will probably remember there has been controversy about Aluminium, since the 1950's when it was a popular metal used for making cooking pots, Saucepans and Fry Pans and that it could be one of the contributing factors to Alzheimer's, now we have another problem that could also be related to Aluminium, Breast Cancer.Research shows that one of the leading causes of Breast Cancer could be the use of antiperspirants.
Finding Your Spiritual Strength in the Midst of Your Emotional Turmoil
There were so many emotions that I experienced in 2003 when the doctor confirmed I had Breast Cancer; I was overwhelmed. That was a point in my life that seemed to play out in slow motion.