How do I cope with my daughter’s breast cancer diagnosis?

A breast cancer diagnosis for your daughter is overwhelming. As a mother you have to face big questions. You have to make big decisions. You have to make sense of a torrent of new information.

Furthermore, your motherly instinct kicks in and you want to help her but you do not know exactly what to do.  Plus, you might be wondering how it could happen to her, she is too young for this disease.

All young women should stay vigilant about their breast health.  Some young women have a high risk of getting breast cancer. However, a high risk factor does not mean you’ll definitely get the disease, it just increases your chances.  It is possible for people with cancer to remain healthy all their lives if they manage their risk factors. Doctors use the term “risk factor” for anything that increases your chances of getting a disease.

Just because an aunt had a certain experience, it does not mean your daughter will too. She is unique so her experience will be unique.

All those questions she has? Tell her to welcome them. They are completely normal and will help her stay on top. Encourage her to make a list and never be afraid to ask the doctor anything. She has a right to complete answers. It can also help her to keep a notebook.

Keep communication between you and your daughter open and honest.  Understand that she will often worry just as much about you as you do about her. You may face difficult conversations. You many need to discuss a lot of emotions. Your daughter is experiencing something very profound. To improve communication between the two of you, it might be a good idea to talk to other mothers who are in the same position as you. Show your support by accompanying her to doctors’ appointments and treatment.

ALWAYS remember that she is the patient, that she is the one fighting a dreaded disease, that she is the one who can have bad days. You need to understand that your anxieties will become her anxieties.

Be aware of how you feel and tend to your needs. Get plenty of rest and follow a healthy diet. Be prepared to experience some strong emotions.  You have the right to take care of yourself.  This is not an act of selfishness.  It will help you know the limits of your own endurance and strength.

Remember do the best you can, but you can’t do it all.

Written by Rebecca Musi

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