Breast Cancer Awareness: Breast cancer is a journey, not a race.

Author: Alycia Morris, RN, BSN, BA

Diagnosed with TNBC at age 40, 6 months of chemo, 30 days of dose dense radiation and  6 surgeries under 2 years. Breast cancer is a journey, not a race. Words of encouragement and empowerment, you have to be your own advocate. Speak up, your voice and your feelings are your power and it is your validation. While going through chemotherapy, I noted that physicians sometimes fail to listen to the patients, as their goal is to finish their regimen and get you to the finish line. You have to be strong enough to let your voice be heard. Let them know how you feel and what you think throughout your treatment. Remember, their job is to help you… and that includes thoroughly explaining and taking time to go over medications, labs, and emotional needs. It’s all important and part of the healing process. If you don’t think your doctor is listening, never be afraid to get a second or third opinion. I myself had to replace 3 doctors off my team.
During my chemotherapy, I was barred from my job, for risk of infection. That was extremely difficult for me, as it is ingrained in me to always help others. Staying home and away from crowds will be difficult but achievable. Your job will always be there. To put it into context, I’ve never heard a patient say while passing, ‘I just wish I could work 1 more day’.  I stuck with that thought process while maintaining steadfastness at home. Busy yourself with projects you have been putting off and this is a great time to reflect on your faith and hold onto it even tighter, because it will help you get through this journey. Spiritual care is deeply ingrained into this journey.
You will think that some of your friends and family don’t care. This is not true, they are simply not suppose to be in this chapter of your life. This is not where they come in. If you remember this, no bitter feelings, depression or regret will occur. Cherish those that are there, because they are supposed to be in this chapter of life with you.
I am a nurse, so I am able to read labs and know the fine tuning of the medical field, in saying this, if you ever have doubts or questions… find a skilled nurse. One that works oncology or has journeyed and survived breast cancer and use them as your resource. I promised you, you are never a bother to us.
Above all, remember you are not alone. Your immediate friends and family are going through this WITH YOU. Just as it is hard on you, it is even harder on them to bear witness. Take it easy on them, they are doing the best they can. There will be a lot of days that you will have to do deep breathing to make it through… but you will make it through.


Your favorite ER nurse

Alycia Morris, RN, BSN, BA

Specialty: ER, Surgery, Executive Leadership

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