Community Shares: Realistic Tips for Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Sometimes, the advice you receive after a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. You may find yourself wondering what tips are most important.

However, after diagnosis, most people do make changes. To find out more about which advice you found most helpful in your journey, we turned to community members. We asked followers of our Facebook page to tell us: “What are realistic tips for living with metastatic breast cancer?”

More than 50 people responded. Here is what was shared.

Pay attention to self-care

With the added stress of living with a diagnosis, it can be easy to forget about taking care of yourself. Several community members shared that they found it most helpful to return to the basics of self-care: Get enough sleep, hydration, downtime, and exercise. Self-care can also mean practicing slow, deep breathing to calm the nerves.

  • “Try to get enough sleep and exercise.”
  • “Breathe.”
  • “Learn to rest, not quit.”

Learn to ask for and accept help

Society often celebrates those who never need help. However, that is no way to live, especially for those living with advanced breast cancer. Rather, it is okay to ask for help when you need it, whether that be a hot meal, a ride to the doctor, or a shoulder to cry on. Many people in the community found that their friends were happy to help when asked.

  • “Ask for help when you need it or want it. Some people are afraid to offer. If offered, accept it.”
  • “Do not turn down any help that friends offer you. It not only helps you, but it also makes them feel good to be wanted and needed.”
  • “Embrace the support of family and friends.”

Allow yourself emotional release

A handful of people with advanced breast cancer shared that it helps them to cry, yell, and get angry. It can be cathartic to release emotions in any way that feels healthy or productive. They also said the trick is to not stay stuck in sadness or anger, but rather to move on after you have released your feelings.

  • “Scream, cry, laugh, smile. Today the pain is not letting you do the things you want to do, and that is okay. Hope for a better tomorrow.”
  • “Allow a pity party when you need one, but then move on.”

Bring gratitude to each day

It is a cliché, but a cliché for a reason. Taking the time to be thankful at least once a day can help restore a sense of hope. It can also bring peace. Being grateful can mean appreciating the beauty of the sunset, the humor of a favorite TV show, the love of a pet, or simply feeling good that day.

  • “Be thankful for each day you are given.”
  • “Be thankful and enjoy your peeps.”

Practice a positive attitude

Every morning, we all decide what kind of day we are going to have. It may not feel like it, but we do have a choice. Deciding to be hopeful and appreciate the good things makes for better days, and those days add up. Plus, many people believe that having a positive outlook brings about a better chance at longer-lasting health.

  • “Find at least 1 thing every day to be joyful about.”
  • “Try to be positive even when the situation is not favorable.”
  • “Positive attitude equals positive results.”

Thank you to everyone who shared their wisdom for this story. It means so much to see members of the community supporting one another.

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