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Thursday, July 26 2018

Advice from a friend: Meaningful ways to deal with breast cancer

A cancer diagnosis is something you can never prepare for. Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity through this unfortunate circumstance, meet and care for some amazing people. I have always wondered how women successfully deal with this devastating diagnosis.

I reached out to my patients to get some answers. Here is great advice from a wonderful lady, Ginny, who has become a friend of the Ong Institute.

With Love From Ginny

”I hope that my comments below can touch the life of one of your patients. I am forever grateful that you have inspired me to move forward with my life.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

I’ve always felt that I was someone who could get through anything that was thrown my way. After all, my inspiring Mom raised a very strong woman. But I realized that sometimes you need support other than from your friends and family.  After meeting with a wonderful therapist at Piper Cancer Center,  I said “I feel so weak asking for help. I should be able to handle this myself.” Her response was “weak people won’t ask for help – only the strong will accept that they need help.” What a joyous epiphany.

I feel more beautiful than ever especially on the inside. I think I took it for granted that my inner self was okay but never really thought about it. I am reminded every day that I am truly in a peaceful place and blessed to have the life I have.

Advice I would give a friend

Keep a journal

Write down how you are feeling every day. Get mad and write it down. Even if just a few sentences, it can be a great release and also reasons to be happy when you are having a good day. Cherish those good days.

Take daily walks

Put together a play list of music that will make you smile. My playlist is titled “Move it Sister.” I listen to it in the car, when I walk and even if I am having problems getting to sleep.  Always puts a smile on my face.

Reach out to others

Your local cancer center has a myriad of support groups that can help. Healthy eating is key. Make cooking a joy not a task. Try new foods and recipes. (yes, I am a Food Network junkie!) Not all will be great, but just mix it up in the kitchen. Cooking for others and watching them enjoy what I have made is a real cause for joy.  

Pay it forward

Have granola bars and water bottles in your car for the poor person who is sitting on an expressway ramp. When you see somebody at the grocery store and they have less items than you, let them go ahead of you if have the gift of time. People who work in the stores wear name tags. Thank them by name.

And if you had a really meaningful experience, talk to the Manager to let them him or her know that you had a great interaction with “Bob.” Managers love this kind of feedback that they can pass on to the employee and encourage others to do the same. WIN-WIN!

Never forget your caregiver

There are too, going through a difficult time too. He or she just wants to make things better and is feeling lost and frustrated.  Being the patient is easier from my experience.

Once you are feeling stronger, encourage them to have lunch with a friend, go to a movie where they won’t have to share the popcorn or get a massage/day at a spa. They deserve it.

Scottsdale plastic surgeon Dr. Cheri Ong is a leader in women’s health and an experienced breast surgeon.  To learn more about breast reconstruction surgery, call (480) 771-7771.

If you are interested to share your experience, we would LOVE to hear from you too. Please reach out to us so that, together, we can better support other women going through this difficult time.


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