The best advice often comes from those who’ve actually walked a mile in your shoes. Three breast cancer survivors treated at Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers across Greater Houston offer these words of advice and encouragement to women who may be going through treatment right now and those who are waiting to schedule their next mammogram.
Ann Christenson: Breast Cancer Survivor Since 2016
“Many hearts ache for you and your new diagnosis and will root for you every day. Here are some lessons I learned. Take what you can use, toss the rest.
- You can do this!
- There are a lot of knowledgeable doctors, nurses, technicians and others who will help you.
- Begin to trust yourself to figure out what you want and need regarding treatment options, schedules, priorities, attitudes, etc.
- Cancer sucks.
- Thousands have tolerated chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Chances are good that you will, too.
- Your hair will grow back!
- Stay off the internet.
- Let family and friends help you, but take care of your caregivers.
- Get or stay involved with activities that are not cancer related.
- Drink water, walk and practice gratitude.”
“As an African American Muslim woman, I can’t stress enough the importance of getting that annual mammogram. I know many women, especially in the Muslim or African American cultures, who are afraid to get checked. Or, they put it “out of sight, out of mind,” and focus on taking care of their families rather than taking care of themselves. Early detection is so important in the successful battle against breast cancer. Get over the fear, get educated and get screened. Don’t wait, start now.”
“For me, it was so important to stay positive. It would be very easy to get depressed or go to a dark place after being diagnosed with cancer. I would encourage women to get a support team in place. Whether that’s through friends and family, or by going to a survivor’s group, find people you can talk to about how you’re feeling. Each stage of the breast cancer journey can bring up new emotions, so it’s important to take care of your mental health as well as your physical health.”
Memorial Hermann Cancer Centers, in partnership with Memorial Hermann Breast Care Centers, provide superior screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up for breast cancer in Greater Houston. Learn more about breast cancer screening, diagnosis and prevention. Make your mammogram appointment online using ScheduleNow.