As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Our chapter has decided to dedicate a week of this month to advocating for and supporting people with or who have survived breast cancer. I am very fortunate to be able to say that I have two strong women in my life who have survived breast cancer. My mom and my aunt, her sister, are both currently in remission.
I decided that I did not want to focus on the awful parts of this disease, but instead, I wanted to talk to my mom and aunt about the things that helped them feel better during their fight. Of course, these tips do not apply to everyone and each person copes with things differently. Even my mom and my aunt had different approaches to their processing.
My aunt read a book entitled “I Am Not My Breast Cancer,” which is a compilation of more than 800 women sharing their fears, advice and experiences surrounding their journeys with breast cancer. Additionally, a fellow cancer survivor gave my aunt a journal where she wrote her thoughts and certain quotes from the book that resonated with her. The journal helped provide her with motivation and a place to clear her head. My aunt also wrote in the journal on her bad days. She said that releasing her thoughts onto paper really helped her.
My mom had different coping skills. She recalls that she did not process her diagnosis that much. As a family, there were many issues happening at once, and it was difficult for her to focus on her own difficulties. I do remember her taking a lot of walks with my dad at this time. They both believe having that time to exercise and talk to each other was beneficial to each of their own struggles. My mom said that surrounding herself with family and keeping busy was her best therapy.
If you or a loved one are suffering from breast cancer or any other kind of trauma, these could be beneficial coping mechanisms to try. Again, everyone is different, but it is always nice to have a starting point if you are feeling overwhelmed. Cancer is a very daunting thing that I myself fear every day because of my family history. But having people around me that can offer support and knowledge makes me worry a little less.
Please check out our chapter’s fundraising page here: https://give.bcrf.org/team/320366