What do you do when your Doctor thinks they may have found a lump?


*Warning!* While typing this I cried a lot and need a lot of tissues. I felt you should be warned and go get that box of tissues now before you read on.

Yesterday was a bit upsetting. My husband asked me if I’d read a post from one of our friends. I said, “no”. He proceeded to read her post to me. It was quite a blow, especially after the past year of dealing with my mom’s cancer. All night a zillion questions ran through my head. “What do you do when your friend fears they may be diagnosed with breast cancer?” “What do you do when your doctor thinks they may have found a lump?” “What kinds of treatments are out there?” “My doctor thinks he found a lump now what?” I can only imagine what questions have been running through her head.

Here is her post:

“I had my mammogram last Wednesday and my doctor calls today to tell me that I have to have a diagnostic done. They found an abnormality lump in the nipple area. I was shocked! Breast cancer does run in the family and I take estradiol, which he said, “to stop taking”. He also said, “I need to set appointment immediately for further testing”. Please say a prayer that it is not cancer.”

The thought of cancer can be a paralyzing prognosis. I think the only thing worse than being diagnosed is the prospect of not knowing and needing to find out. My friend isn’t very old just in her 40’s. She has a lot going for her Great kids, Great husband, beautiful grand kids, and a thriving business she runs with her husband.

After everything I went through with my parents I wanted to see what I could do to help her. So I of course do what I always do when I do not know the answers. I turn to the internet. It’s amazing what each question I asked turns up. There’s tons of information on different treatments and different forms of cancer but very little on how to deal with the emotional roller coaster that not just her but everyone who cares about her is about to undertake.

I know no one sees this as a blessing but the prospect of a lump is actually a positive thing. Consider it the silver lining. Early detection of any disease whether it’s cancer, alzheimer’s, Lupus or even heart disease allow the fight to occur before it’s too late. You can’t focus on the what if’s and things that are out of your control. Doing so can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety. Till you have a for sure  diagnosis this is going to be your number one battle. I know from personal experience it’s easier said than done. You can’t help allowing your mind to run a muck and if you already suffer from anxiety disorders this issue is compounded.

Sorry to go slightly off tangent but it relates. Weather you already suffer from anxiety issues or this causes you to start suffering anxiety issues, don’t let it get worse! The stress from dealing with my sick parents created a lot of issues for me. Do to the type of person I am the stress became overbearing and turned into an overwhelming anxiety. You feel crazy and the world seems to spin out of control. The Midwest Center has done a lot to help me. Even if you’re not suffering anxiety you should still make sure you have someone to talk to and be there for you. Use these steps I’ve learned to help you.

It’s human nature to worry even if it’s things we can’t control. One way to help deal with the worrying is by picking a time to worry. Write down the things that pop into your head to worry about.  Then pick a time of the day to focus and deal with them. This is time for you to freak out cry do whatever it is you’ve been wanting to do with the issue at hand.  Lucinda Bassett of the Midwest Center says, “that often you tend to even forget about it by the time you have allotted for dealing with this.”. I know when it comes to the dealing with the potential prognosis you’re not going to forget but do try to pick a time to do this. It maybe hard to deal with your internal dialog but “Supportive” friends and family are important to involve in this process. Don’t be foolish and go it alone. You know what they say 2 heads are better than one and this is one of those cases that is true.

One of the things that Lucinda did that was always found helpful was giving personal examples. So here’s mine. When my husband read me that post I got teary eyed. It was late in the evening. I of course cried periodically when it crept into my mind. When it did I reminded myself I was going to focus on this in the morning. This blog post is a result of that. It allowed me time to focus on the issue and see what immediate help I can be. I know my friend is a strong person but I want her to know she’s not alone and that I am here to help.

Sadly not all family and friends are supportive. You may be scared to reach out to them or some stranger but try. Rejection from family and friends is hard but you will get over it. Just remember you can’t get support if you don’t ask. Not asking for help is worse than facing your fear of their rejection. There are many support groups out there. They are only as far as the internet.

Relaxation & me time is a must! The time allotted for worrying is not me time. It’s suggested to take time several times a day to relax and deal with stress. I highly suggest that you at least do this after your allotted time to stress out. This sounds simple and easy but not everyone knows how to relax. If you have a technique that works for you, do it. In the Anti-anxiety program from the Midwest Center there is a bonus CD that walks you through breathing exercises, stretching & mental techniques to help you learn to relax. Some other techniques that may also help is mediation. I recently listened to a video OmHarmonics by Mindvalley. I was very surprised at how intense this was. Intense in a good way. It was a feeling I can’t describe you have to try it for yourself.

I’ll even get a little on the taboo side. Sex is also a great way to relax and reduce stress. In June 2010 a study was conducted into sexual activity and how it relates to stress. The report was very technical but what I gathered from the LiveScience article “6 Great things Sex can do for you”, that the hormones released from sex help not only make you happy but reduces stress. Other benefits that will also help you besides increasing your bond with your partner, is immunity, reduce pain & Reduce negativity (neuroticism). An added benefit for men only is it helps reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Although the study didn’t appear to go into masterbation I do have to admit to what sparked me on this stress reduction topic of sex was a kickstarter product I recently came across. The project has exceeded its goal but doesn’t end till August 28th, 2013. The program is called Vibease. I’m sorry but that girl in the first main video looked very relaxed when she was done. So I just had to put that out there.

Remember it’s never too late to start getting healthy. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to change everything at once. Pick one small thing at a time. Make sure you are also using positive self talk to keep yourself motivated. I don’t know about everyone else but when I’m stressed out I tend to be very negative especially, to myself. One technique that I thought was awkward but has helped was every time your negative towards yourself write down those negative thoughts. Leave room between each one. Now next to each negative thought write a positive one. Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t say your thin when you’re not. Accept who you are. The positive thoughts do not have to correlate to the negative ones. Here is an personal example of mine. I tell myself rather frequently I’m stupid despite the fact that I’m not, I still find it hard to believe. When this pops into my head I try to remind myself that I’m a kind helpful person.

Learn to delegate. If you should be diagnosed this will be a skill you and your support group will need! It was my biggest mistake while dealing with my parents being sick. You have to accept that those that care about you want to help but they have their own lives to live to. Obsessive people have a hard time letting this go. I know I felt like I had to do everything. So I did. This was so wrong. I was so focused on the needs of my parents I ignored my own & my husbands. (I am truly blessed to have the wonderful understanding husband I have. If he wasn’t the person he is this could totally have ended our marriage.) I didn’t have time to prepare for these events. The only family I had here was my sister. My parents are very lucky to have family from all over the world to come help her even with another sibling dying from cancer at the same time. Although for me this has shattered and destroyed many relationships with family it has strengthened my relationships with many of my friends as well. I know slightly off topic but I do want others to learn from my mistakes. I know I did the best I could with what I had at the time. A hard lesson for all caregivers to swallow. Possibly even a harder lesson for the one who is ill.

So how do we delegate what should we do? There are a lot of things you should try to do and take care of regardless of a confirmed diagnosis. Truthfully, even if you’re not in the “What if I have….” group you need to do this.

  • Make sure you draw up a will. Anyone with children, an estate, and/or a business need to put their affairs in order now! The sooner this is done the less aggravation later.

    • The more complicated your finances are the more you need legal representation for this step.

  • Powers of attorney

    • Health

    • Finance

    • They can be different individuals or the same person

  • Health Insurance & payment options

    • This is one of the most difficult ones to deal with. Don’t go through it alone seek help. With the pending implementation of Obamacare the health care system has increased in becoming more difficult to navigate.

  • Family Meeting

    • If you don’t have family or friends who can help, there are tons of care giving options out there. They allow you to get the support you may need even from the comfort of your home.

    • Remember they love you but they have other responsibilities. Don’t take advantage but don’t allow them to overwhelm themselves.

      • This is just to talk and get ideas out there. If you should be diagnosed you can have another meeting to hammer out ideas and steps.

  • Stay informed

    • It’s OK to talk to different doctors and get second opinions.

    • Go through your medications periodically and make sure you are aware of the side effects. Some medications can exacerbate a problem.

    • Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctors.

    • Keep family & friends in the loop

      • My mom’s family is large. Many of them demanded phone calls. This was overwhelming for my mom. Nor did I have time to call a dozen or more relatives on a daily basis. Plan a way to keep everyone informed that works for you. They may get mad but it’s not about them. This is about you, your health and making sure you stay healthy, happy and above all positive.

I’m sorry this was so lengthy but I hope it helps others.

References

Midwest Center   OmHarmonics

Lucinda Bassett Facebook page Wikipedia

6 Great things Sex can do for you 

Sexual Experience promotes adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus despite an initial elevation in stress hormones.

Vibease wearable smart vibrator Indiegogo Kickstarter 

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About Delilah L. Veronese

I'm nobody who are you? Lets find out who we are, who we will be and what we will do together.
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