Monday, November 16, 2009

Bear Pain Privately

Let's just get this out of the way. Battling breast cancer means you will have to cope with the side effects of treatments for a cure, which can make life miserable. Everyone's response to chemotherapy is different. Some women--armed with a battery of meds--will sail through chemotherapy, while others will face a series of infections, trips to the emergency room and violent bouts of vomiting and diarreha. Most of us sit somewhere in between.

You doctor will warn you and arm you appropriately for the journey. When your first bad day comes, make note of what your going through and what you did to make it better. For me, it was always the second day after chemo. That's when exhaustion and nauseau would overcome me, so much so that I would have to pull over at a rest stop if I was driving and sleep for a half an hour. I felt like I had a very bad tequila hangover over the next 24 hours. Soon, I learned the drill, and made sure I was comfy at home on that second day. I rode it out, knowing this too shall pass, and it always did.

Complaining to those caring for me about my agony only made them feel helpless and even more sad about my predicament. At the end of the day, it didn't do them or me any good. Now if something unusual comes up, that's another story. But if you've figured out how your body handles chemotherapy, keep the pain, the details to yourself. Just remember, it's only a temporary situation. Your family, friends and doctors will appreciate your stoic stand, because it will make it that much easier to help you in ways they can. Now that's what I call battling breast cancer with class.

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