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5 Things You Need To Do After A Breast Cancer Diagnosis

We make this assumption that there will be this magical transference of information through the healthcare system. For some people with a diagnosis the path is clear and set out before them immediately. With very little time to prepare for what lies ahead, information can fly so fast that you don't know where to start.

Here are a few things I did and wish I would have done after my own biopsy results turned out to be positive for cancer.

  1. Stop any and all hormone products: In my case, Hormone Therapy was a part of the peri-menopause transition. With my hormone profile being Estrogen and Progesterone positive I stopped the therapy as soon as I found out but I wish I would have halted sooner if I had been aware of the contribution it makes to growing tumours. This includes getting any hormone IUDs removed from your body ASAP!

  2. Get Genetic Testing ASAP: If it's not provided by the healthcare system and you can afford to purchase private testing do so. I wish my results were back before my surgery only because if I was genetically positive for mutations I would have had a double mastectomy but because I wasn't positive it was a mout point. My genetic testing also came with a medication metabolization report which I shared with the pharmacist at the Cross Cancer. She pointed out that one type of chemo may not process the same since I was an intermediate metabolizer of that classification of that drug. Interesting. I used Color testing based out of California.

  3. Ask For Extra Testing: I had to push to get an ultrasound on the right breast because they deemed it "healthy" from the mammogram. Yes, the same mammogram that missed my other tumours nine months prior! How could I trust the results of that when making the decision about a single or double mastectomy?LISTEN to the radiologists, the technicians, and the nurses; ask them questions. They are full of great knowledge and recommendations. The one radiologist insisted I go for an MRI on my "good" breast due to the density and busyness of my breast tissue. Check out Dense Breasts Canada to understand what that means! It means your tissue shows up as white on imaging the same colour as tumours in your breasts and they are hidden in images. Ultrasound or MRI is the only way to see them otherwise. ADVOCATE for these images if you are told you have dense breasts, if you're refused consider private imaging options.

  4. Find Out More: Personally, I have avoided online support groups. Instead if possible talk to people who are going through active treatment, and ask them what their experiences are. Currently, another woman and I in my town are only two weeks apart in surgery and treatments for different types of breast cancer and we've had vastly different experiences. Another friend is much further down the path and has discovered her own integrative healing that has shrunk the tumours in her brain along with traditional medicine. Implementing both types of treatments can make for much better outcomes. There are a million types of snake oil salesmen around when it comes to cancer and also providers who truly care. They want to help people survive and thrive through cancer. Be diligent, be direct and ask a lot of questions and if it doesn't feel right with alternative or traditional treatments you still have bodily autonomy to choose.

  5. Book ALL Your Procedures Ahead Of Time: If you know you need chemo or radiation be sure to book dental appointments, microblading, nails, tattoos or any type of "bodily disturbance" procedure before you start because you will be informed that those are a no go when in treatment. Fortunately for myself, I was able to book my IUD removal and a colonoscopy before the "imaginary" start day for treatment. Imaginary because I don't know what I will need until the Oncotype testing comes back. This gave me two weeks to prepare. But NO ONE mentioned this to me until I got to the oncologist.

I encourage you to read Radical Remission by Kelly Turner. She also has a new book called Radical Hope which I have not read. And if right now you are struggling with hope I recommend Edith Eger's book The Choice or The Gift she is a holocaust survivor and a rare gem of inspiration in the world after living through hell on Earth. It's not a competition of who has the bigger pity party, it's about finding solidarity in struggle with others who have overcome challenges in life.

All of this listed above is one person's perspective through this journey.

Simple observations of many things I've experienced.

I hope it's of use to you or a loved one.

Sending You Love N' SUP,

Lisa Stocking

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