Family Relationships

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Thriving after any serious illness is complicated and sometimes feels like an uphill struggle. Today's coping tips can help you support yourself - emotionally and physically - along the difficult course of dealing with beast cancer and its treatments.

As you move through this process, you find that staying informed and involved at each step gives a sense of power and resiliency. The National Cancer Institute, a part of NIH, has a wide range of materials to make this job easier. And here are some more tips to help you take charge of your life:

Accept your changing emotions as normal and give yourself permission to express them. After a brush with cancer, it is normal to feel many different emotions such as anger, fear, worry, anxiety, depression, stress or loss of control. It's OK to express these to people you trust and acknowledge them to yourself. Only then can you begin to cope with them.

Recognize the changes in your body. You may feel that your body has betrayed you, leaving you feeling vulnerable and with a loss of innocence about your own invincibility. You may need to grieve this loss. In addition, you may be experiencing side effects of the treatment such as fatigue, stiffness, lymphedema, weight gain, as well as menopausal symptoms. Once you clarify how your body is reacting, you can address each of the symptoms and alleviate them.

Take good care of yourself. Pamper yourself - you deserve it! Follow the guidelines of the American Cancer Society and set aside time for you. Begin an exercise program that includes aerobics, flexibility and strengthening exercises. Enjoy eating a more healthful diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Schedule relaxation time to decrease the stresses in your life. Learn visualization techniques. Think about what you really like to do and do it. Of course this is easier to say than it may be to do, but stick with your decision to make time for yourself. You can make it happen.

Take credit for the challenge you have faced and the changes you are making. Recognize and accept that you have faced many difficulties in your process of healing. Give yourself credit for the hard work you have completed to get to this point in your recovery. You have learned about yourself and made changes in the way you think, feel, act and react to yourself, others and the situation around you.

We celebrate your survival with you! You reflect the unity of women who are surviving breast cancer - and the men who love you.

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