I recently had the honor of leading a breakout session at the Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference. The title of the session was Thriving with Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC). For many people unfamiliar with MBC, these words seem at odds with each other. We’ve become a society where metastatic or stage IV is connected to death and dying, not thriving. On behalf of the women I see in my practice, in support groups, at conferences, and those thriving in secret I’d like to explain and share what I’ve learned.Read More
In my work helping people affected by cancer in Atlanta, people often ask if their feelings are normal. There seems to be some general assumption that there is a prescribed reaction that you “should” have when faced with the life-altering diagnosis of cancer. Given the range of human emotions and personal experiences, any number of thoughts and feelings can and do bubble up - some just under the surface and some like a geyser, and others becoming a fluid wave between the two. I do find some common themes with people who have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma or other cancers.
The past couple of weeks have been rough. I lost someone in my personal circle to breast cancer, another in my professional circle, and learned a dear friend was recently diagnosed. As a woman and as a psychotherapist who works in Alpharetta with women affected by breast cancer, I am certainly familiar with October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). Walks for breast cancer research, pink ribbons for survivors, flyers, handouts, and articles encouraging women to pay attention to breast health and get mammograms. All of which are positive, helpful and encouraging. Many survivors find strength in pink ribbons and becoming part of the cause can be a way to help process and make sense of their experience.Read More
You have breast cancer…….
As soon as you hear the words, the world stops. How can you take in anything after that? Once you contain the initial shock and fear, you jump into action mode – find a breast surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, plastic surgeon, someone to take care of your kids, the list goes on. You’re now more vulnerable than you’ve ever been, baring your breasts to four+ new providers. They all discuss how this part of your body, that defines you in some way - woman, daughter, mother, grandmother, partner - is about to change – lumpectomy, mastectomy, lymph nodes.Read More
Do you wake up and for a tenth of a nanosecond you’re “normal?”
That free and light sensation of being you, not your DIAGNOSIS. Then it hits you like a ton of bricks….CANCER…. You remember (painfully) that normal is a thing of the past, or at least of your past. Normal is something other people have and take for granted, and you find yourself pissed off and agonizing over what ifs.Read More