If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, or learned that it has metastasized, you’re probably wondering what to do next.
One thing that’s important to have is a good support system. Unfortunately, sometimes family and friends may not provide the support you need. This is when you can and should consider outside support groups.
Support groups may introduce you to total strangers, but these are people who’ve been there and can share valuable information on what to expect along this unexpected journey.
Thanks to technology, there are many apps that offer help. You don’t even need to leave the comfort of your home. You can access them while on the go, even if only for a couple of minutes here and there while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or in between appointments.
I’ve found my safe space on Breast Cancer Healthline (BCH). Through the app, I’ve met a wide variety of people living all over the world.
We share tips on a daily basis about what helps during treatment — from products to use to positions to sleep in after surgery. All of this information helps make this cancer journey a bit more bearable.
A metastatic breast cancer (MBC) diagnosis can be overwhelming. There are so many doctor’s appointments to go to, whether it’s for blood work or a new scan.
It can be difficult to remember all the information associated with each endeavor. This can sink us into a bottomless pit that we feel we can never get out of.
My support community has helped me make decisions through thought-provoking discussions. I’m able to read insights about treatment options, side effects, the effect of MBC on relationships, the breast reconstruction process, survivorship concerns, and more.
We can also ask questions on specific topics and get responses from an expert in the breast cancer field.
These healthy discussions have allowed me to connect on a personal level with people just like me. Plus, I’ve learned to do my own research, ask questions, and become more active in my treatment. I’ve learned to advocate for myself.
Talking about my concerns and gathering information helps to process and regain some control over my life.
Along the way, I’ve found inspiration and hope, learned patience, and developed a strong sense of self. Everyone in my support group is kind, accepting, and encouraging to each individual as we try to navigate this road.
I’ve always made charitable contributions on a community level. I’ve participated in numerous fundraising activities, but my support community has motivated me to specifically engage in breast cancer advocacy.
I’ve found my purpose, and I’m committed to making sure no one feels alone.
Championing a cause beyond oneself fosters what it means to be a woman fully alive. Support group discussions help me gain a better understanding of what it means to be able to continue on with life, despite an MBC diagnosis.
We’ve developed a camaraderie in our BCH community because we all know exactly what we’re going through. It’s like a pair of jeans that fits all of us perfectly, even though we’re all different shapes and sizes.
We’ve learned to adapt and respond accordingly. It’s not a fight or a battle, it’s more of a lifestyle change. Those fight words insinuate that we must win, and if we don’t, we’ve somehow lost. But do we really?
What a metastatic diagnosis does is that it forces us to do our best and be fully present every single day. With a genuine support group, you find your voice and you find various coping mechanisms, and that equals winning.
While you might feel that it’s all too much, know that there’s a group of community members out there that’s ready and willing to listen and answer your questions.
Victoria is a stay-at-home wife and mom of two living in Indiana. She has a BA in Communication from Purdue University. She was diagnosed with MBC in October 2018. Since then, she has been very passionate about MBC advocacy. In her free time, she volunteers for various organizations. She loves traveling, photography, and wine. She can be found on Instagram @theregionandbeyond.