This entry was written by Sarita Jordan. Sarita understands the importance of asking for assistance in order to reach a healthy state of recovery after a breast cancer diagnosis:
I am currently a 5 1/2 year breast cancer survivor. I guess I can say, “I am cured.” Or can I? Breast cancer is not the type of illness that assures you that, after the surgeries, treatments and medications, you will be sent on your merry way. There are emotional and physical concerns that might linger, even after a 5-year survival. One might be fear of recurrence – every time you have an ache or pain or feel other lumps, you question, is this breast cancer again? Your body might feel well, but your mind may play tricks on you. You may suffer from anxiety or panic attacks just from a routine follow-up doctor’s visit.
Because of issues like this, it’s important to reach out to others for help. In some cases, though, the idea of asking for help brings about an uncomfortable feeling. People can’t help you with a problem if you are not willing to ask for the help. Although I am a proud, strong, and independent woman who doesn’t ask anyone for anything, I realize that dealing with breast cancer alone is a scary thing. I knew I had to do something. I started with the oncology social worker at the hospital where I received treatment. Once I started to explain my current circumstance, she informed me about agencies and organizations that could assist me with everything from self-image to financial help for prescriptions.
I became involved with a support group called Women of Faith and Hope that serves women like myself. It was here that I found a new “sisterhood” of other African-American women that were just like me. While going through treatment and recovery, I didn’t have a strong family support system. I used the available resources to guide me through this process. I reached out for everything including monetary help and support groups. I must admit it did feel a little strange to be on the receiving end because I am always giving of myself to others. But the more I asked for help, the easier it became. Attending various conferences was a great source to learn about many organizations whose mission is to help women during their road to recovery.
Here are resources that I used to help me get to recovery:
- Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) and Young Survival Coalition (YSC) – Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer
- The American Cancer Society – help with prescriptions, vouchers for wigs
- Look Good Feel Better meetings
- The Breathing Room
- Image Reborn – Free Breast Cancer Retreat for women diagnosed with breast cancer
- PA Health Law Project and Community Legal Services – agencies that assist with legal concerns
If you need help, it’s okay to ask. Tell a friend and that person could be an advocate for your needs. No person diagnosed with breast cancer should have to go through this difficult journey alone. For more information on resources available to you, feel free to call the Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s toll-free helpline (888) 753-LBBC (5222).
What resources have been helpful to you after your diagnosis? Comment here or on our Facebook page.