(10/08/13) - No one can help you prepare for something like someone who has
already done it. This is especially true when it comes to fighting diseases like
cancer, and breast cancer patients who seek peer support appear to benefit
It's not just the emotions, there are doctor's appointments, treatment options, side-effects - all of which can be a lot to digest.
"The physicians are so busy keeping you alive, they miss the pragmatic pieces of advice," says breast cancer survivor, Lisa Crites.
In order to get that pragmatic advice, Lisa and fellow breast cancer survivors Sherry Palmer and Jennifer Batchellor, joined a support group called Breast Friends.
Lisa's says she got through a lot of the pain, with a little improvised exercise. "I did a lot of physical therapy where you literally walk your hands up and down the wall."
Sherry says there is a trick to getting comfortable sleep, without resorting to a chair, which is what surgeons often suggest after surgery, "You sleep in the recliner? When you're sick, you want to be in your own bed."
Sherry gets help from a wedge pillow, "it helps with healing. It helps with swelling. It helps with drainage."
Jennifer says the key thing she learned was to go out and enjoy the good days she had during treatments, "Really take the time to get up, leave the house, go to the mall with your mom, or see a movie with a friend."
All three agree on one key point, Lisa says, "people, patients, have got to be psychologically accepting, of the choices they make."
Although cancer patients have long benefited from support groups, it can still be tough to talk about the experience. That is where online intervention tools can be another good option. A UCLA study found that women with breast cancer who created websites as a way to cope with the disease, reported feeling less depressed, more positive, and having a greater appreciation for life.
ABC12 Main Station