Updated: 9:14 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, 2012 | Posted: 12:00 a.m. Friday, Oct. 19, 2012
Special coverage: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
INSIDE, XXMore readers open up about what helped them through diagnosis and treatment.
How to survive hearing the words, “You have cancer.”
1. Grieve over the diagnosis.
“Cancer is something to cry and scream about… at least for a little while. You will go through the stages of grief (anger, sadness, denial, acceptance, etc.) and sometimes all in the same hour.”
2. Your spouse, family and friends will help you get through it, but they cannot meet all your needs.
“Don’t blame them when they fall short in your eyes and forgive them for dumb things they may say or do.”
3. Faith is required.
“Grab hold of God’s hand for you will reach a point where your joy, peace and comfort can only come from him.”
4. Purposefully have a “cancer free” day.
“Don’t talk about cancer or at least minimize it. Do something that you normally would have done before the cancer diagnosis. Allow yourself to feel like you can have a normal day in the midst of treatments.”
5. Ask for prayers.
“We know prayer works! Ask for help when you need it. People want to help, but don’t know what to do until you ask.”
6. Allow yourself some down time and “me time” and don’t feel guilty about it!
“Read a book, engage in a hobby, watch a favorite movie, etc.”
7. Smile even when you don’t feel like it.
“Smiling is contagious to the rest of your body and will lift your spirits.”
8. Do something fun and out of the ordinary so you can get excited about the day.
“Splurge on something you have always wanted to do, try something new, etc. The possibilities are endless!”
9. Celebrate every milestone in your diagnosis and treatment as a victory in the fight against cancer.
10. Appreciate each and every day as a gift.
“Accept that you will have good days and bad days and that’s OK!” Look for the blessings and the beauty in the journey. They are there to be discovered.”
Source: Debbie McCray of Lebanon, breast cancer survivor
Today’s newspaper is dedicated to those whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. Inside today’s special edition of Life, we bring you the stories of patients, survivors and those who support them on their journey. We also take a closer look at treatment options and local resources.
For four years, we have printed an annual Pink Edition to promote awareness of this disease that impacts so many lives. Thank you, readers, for joining us in the fight.
I survived through …
Before her breast cancer diagnosis, Brenda Clawson-Flannagan had little time for herself. After more than a year of intensive treatments, she re-evaluated her priorities and made several big life changes — including adapting a more active lifestyle.
“I worked out as hard as I could. Go hard or go home!” she said. “This was the first time in a very long time that I felt alive.”
For Cora Howard, the news that she had breast cancer came as a complete shock. Through the power of prayer and a strong faith, she persevered.
“I believe that with faith in God, all things are possible,” she said. “No matter how confused my outer circumstances become, I cannot allow them to disturb my inner faith and my attitude toward life.”
Upon diagnosis, Debbie McCray turned immediately to her pen to find strength.
“I believe that a journal for breast cancer is about being honest with yourself and with God… about the fears, about the curses of breast cancer, about the life lessons learned, about our wishes for the future and yes, about the blessings of breast cancer!” she said.