Dealing with a Range of Responses After an mBC Diagnosis
Carol: It was a very somber moment when I heard the diagnosis. I knew that I had to be strong in that moment because my daughter had a tissue out, was sniffling, and teary eyed. My husband had turned his back to me and was wiping away tears. So, I remarked to my oncologist “well, it could be worse. It could be a lot better, but it could be worse.” And that sort of broke the tension and a little bit of a scattering of giggles. And we were able to move on then and jump into developing my treatment plan.
I had two friends that, nurses like me, we had worked together for a while and we went out socially, had lunches, dinners, went to movies, work related events and parties, things like that. We shared a lot of things together, so I felt close to them, but I happened to receive a phone call from both of them within a week of my diagnosis.
After that brief telephone conversation, I never heard from either one again. I didn't receive any cards, emails, texts, calls, nothing. And I have to say that it hurt me.
There are some friends who will simply not be able to empathize with you or to understand what you're going through and how difficult it is.
I did have other friends that I was close to who handled the news, I thought, rather well. They were supportive and I truly got the sense that they had my back, that they were going to be there for me throughout whatever it took and for however long it took.
So, to have close friends, treat you like they always did, that's like gold. You know? It really does help you keep your perspective.
You try to learn to become your own best advocate, asking questions, challenging things, learning things. Don't just accept everything at face value. But once you've sort of become strong as being your own advocate, I encourage them to advocate for others.
Also, what I made my mantra when I got into this was “if I can’t put more years in my life, I'm going to put more life in my years.” I decided to live my life as fully as I could.
I'm going to still within what I can do in terms of the amount of energy I have and my endurance, I'm going to enjoy life.