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What do I do now? Why am I still so tired? Am I really cured? How do I reduce my risk of recurrence? Is it safe for me to get pregnant? How do I get rid of the hot flashes so I can sleep? This fully revised and updated second edition contains crucial information about these issues and more-including the revolutionary medical advances in follow-up testing, ongoing treatments, and recovery. With answers for everything from how to deal with hair loss and weight gain to finding online support groups and understanding healthy foods and supplements, Living Well Beyond Breast Cancer contains a greater depth and breadth of information in its enhanced chapters-plus all-new chapters that cover current treatment options and preventative tips for those at high risk for developing breast cancer. Enhanced Chapters: bull; Tests: Peer, Poke, and Prod bull; After Mastectomy: Re-creating a Breast with or Without Surgery bull; Intimacy, Sex, and Your Love Life: Relieving Discomfort and Increasing Libido bull; A Child in Your Future: Fertility, Pregnancy, and Adoption bull; Reducing Your Risk: Living Well All-New Information: bull; Pre-Survivors: Risks and Prevention bull; Thinking and Remembering: Clearing the Fog and Sharpening Your Mind bull; Bone Health: Weakness Explained and Strengthening Exercises bull; Sleep: Restoration and Renewal With this book as your guide, yours"ll have the tools not just to live beyond breast cancer, but to live well and well beyond this challenge in your life!
Dr. Marisa C. Weiss is a breast oncologist at Lankenau Hospital in the Philadelphia area and the president and founder of the nonprofit organization Breastcancer.org, the world's number one online breast cancer resource. She is also the founder of the nonprofit Living Beyond Breast Cancer and coauthor of Taking Care of Your "Girls." Marisa's mother, Ellen Weiss, is a writer and editorial consultant.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Living Well Beyond Breast Cancer
Treatment Over, On with Your Life
Over, Not Over
Support: Building a Network
Additional Care Beyond Treatment
You and Your Doctors: Continuing Care
You and Other Health Care Professionals: Allied Care Team
Tests: Peer, Poke, Prod
After Mastectomy: Re-creating a Breast-With or Without Surgery
Ongoing Therapy: Hormonal, Herceptin, and Other Treatments
Coping with Side Effects of Treatment
Fatigue and Loss of Energy
Understanding and Controlling Pain
Swelling (Lymphedema), Stiffness, and Skin Changes: Prevention and Management
Hair Loss and Nail Changes: Terrible but Temporary
Bone Health: Weaknesses and Strengths
Thinking and Remembering: Clearing the Fog and Sharpening Your Mind
Menopause and Growing Older: Hot and Cold, Wet and Dry
Caring for Your New Self
Sleep: Restoration and Renewal
Your Immune System: Blows and Boosts
Sustenance: Nutrition and Supplements
Weight and Exercise: Gains and Losses
Intimacy, Sex, and Your Love Life
A Child in Your Future: Fertility, Pregnancy, Adoption
Preventing and Managing Recurrence
Reducing the Risk of Breast Cancer
Recurrence: If Cancer Comes Back
Endings: Comfort, Closure, and the Circle of Life
Conclusion: Through Crisis Comes Opportunity
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.
CHAPTER ONE Over, Not Over
I never forget. Cancer has become part of my consciousness, part of my society. With every cancer death, my heart turns over. I'm always amazed at how other people take their lives for granted, as if they'll live forever.
I became assertive, someone I'd never been. I had a new voice. I said whatever I felt, like a cranky old lady. I knew nobody would stop me. I took my husband to an auction, my first post-treatment outing; I bought a few things, and he asked, "What areyou going to do with this junk?" I exploded--I just couldn't help myself: "You should be thanking God I'm interested in something again!"
Right after treatment I felt very old, and lost, like I was looking into my grave. I got help, and it took a while, but I came around to feeling reborn, reinvented.
First Things First
It's over. Treatment, that is. You've survived the initial ordeal. Now what? No one hands you an instruction manual as you go from under treatment to beyond treatment. From Geralyn Lucas' bookWhy I Wore Lipstick:
I make a list of everything I want to do. Should I quit my job, leave my husband, travel the world? I decide that maybe the most courageous thing I can do is to try to return to my regular life, with the knowledge that there is nothing regular about it. Since everything has changed, how could we remain the same?
Maybe it's been two weeks, maybe two years, maybe twenty. But no matter how little or how much time has passed, the breast cancer experience is never completely over. Active issues, leftover concerns, and reminders can dog you every day or pop up just once in a while.
When it's all over, just when you think you should be celebrating this huge accomplishment, you may feel worse than you did during treatment. How confusing and disorienting. It starts to make sense when you realize that all parts of your life have beentouched by the breast cancer experience. It may have taken over your life: bills, taxes, job, vacation, housework, and even children were put on hold.
Now, with the end of treatment, you have to adjust back to normal. But is that really possible? The fact is, life changes after breast cancer treatment. Normal will never look and feel exactly the same. The only thing you can do is to go forward with therest of your life, one step at a time. You have to find and create your new normal. Many of you speak of how changed you are, almost renewed. This is my hope for each of you as you read my book: a chance to renew your life, one that brings you comfort, meaning, joy, fun, and hope.
Throughout this book, I will help you understand the challenges and identify the solutions to help you live well beyond breast cancer. We'll start by looking at the issues you'll begin facing immediately after treatment.
You can cope with this new life. Countless women have done it and are doing it. When you feel as wobbly inside as a new toddler or as stiff and creaky as a little old lady, draw strength from these other survivors. They understand that your cheery frontis covering up the vulnerable, exhausted you. And unlike many others, they appreciate this new you. In time, you will, too.
When chemo is all over, the supportive care is over too. You're worn down by the accumulated side effects of all your treatments with nearly no pick-me-ups. That's when many of my patients tell me they barely feel as if they're among the living.
After months or more of concentrated attention on you, your illness, and your therapy, you come to that moment when the days mapped out for you by hour and procedure come
Excerpted from Living Well Beyond Breast Cancer: A Survivor's Guide for When Treatment Ends and the Rest of Your Life Begins by Marisa C. Weiss, Ellen Weiss All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.