The first thing to do after you are diagnosed with cancer, is to remember to breathe! It is a scary and daunting situation. You probably have a million questions and will have another million that you haven’t even thought of yet! Your feelings are perfectly normal.
What you may not know is that there have been many advances in treatments and therapies in recent years. Cancer is not an automatic death sentence. With the correct outlook, and the correct treatment, you can live a full and positive life!
Your medical oncologist will assemble your treatment team and treatment chronology based upon the kind of cancer that you have and the stage that it’s in.
During treatments or appointments, whenever you can, it is important to take your music player, e-reader or books to keep you calm, a friend or relative to keep you encouraged, and snacks to nourish and sustain you.
Most everyone will tell you to keep a positive attitude, and they are right! Your body responds to the positive mental energy. Practice deep breathing exercises, take yoga classes, learn to meditate. Any of these will help you develop a calm interior (which is especially effective when you are bombarded by the exterior part of your life).
A positive attitude, however, does not mean that you will never get angry, frustrated or just plain ticked off! You may even allow yourself to have an occasional “pity party” and indulge in feeling sorry for yourself. But you must put a time limit on its duration. Fifteen minutes is the maximum time limit that you should allow. Any longer, then you are wallowing in self-pity, and that is not healthy. When your pity party ends, dry your tears, end your screams, get on your feet and get on with your life and the job of getting well.
Keep family and friends close; you’ll need them. Keep your faith; you will really need it! Is the journey difficult? Yes! Most worthwhile events involve some difficulties, but you can make it through!
During a career that spanned nearly four decades, Miriam White Williams distinguished herself as an English teacher, substance abuse and mental health specialist, adjunct college professor, educational consultant and author par excellence. She had a profound effect upon thousands of lives.
Ms. Williams was awarded over 70 local and national honors for her service to children and her community. She was twice honored by Miami-Dade County with “Miriam White Williams Day” proclamations and by the philanthropic divisions of organizations such as JC Penney and the United Way. In 1992, she was honored by the National Football League and selected to represent all 32 teams as their “Teacher of the Year.” She was praised by three U.S. senators and is lauded in the Congressional Record of the 102nd Congress of the United States of America.
Educated in the public schools of Jacksonville, Florida, Ms. Williams holds a master’s degree from the University of Florida. She is married to her college sweetheart and has two daughters and two grandchildren. She is widely traveled and accomplished in several artistic fields. Most recently, she penned a volume of poems chronicling her journey through breast cancer.
PLEASE JOIN THE CONVERSATION
As a part of our mission to make The Journey a powerful voice for everyone in our community, we invite each of you to consider joining the conversation and sharing your journey with comments and feedback. You don’t have to be a breast cancer survivor, you can be a caregiver, or a friend, or a concerned citizen. What we are looking for is meaningful and helpful conversations that will encourage other people as they travel along their journey. Sharing is caring and very cathartic. I sincerely urge you to take part.