How Do You Maintain Hope?
Hope means having the courage to face and overcome obstacles in life. Living with advanced breast cancer (ABC) can make this a tall order.
We wanted to hear from you about what keeps you looking forward and optimistic. We asked community members on our Facebook page to tell us: "How do you maintain hope?"
Here, we share your sources of hope and courage.
A sense of purpose
Managing treatments for ABC can become all-consuming. Finding a focus beyond the disease keeps you hopeful. You direct your attention off the disease by investing in helping others. Anticipating goals or experiences also keeps you going.
“Belonging to an in-person women’s cancer support group has helped me. You don’t feel so alone, and it makes me feel good to be able to support others in their fight.”
“I got the great news I’m going to be a great-great-grandma! I want to meet the baby coming in January.”
Treatments and test results
For some of you, treatments give you hope and test results give you hope.
Around 10 to 25 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer experience depression. A terminal illness can increase feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Using antidepressant drugs helps keep negative emotions at bay. You feel more positive and hopeful. It gives you the emotional energy to participate in activities when your body feels able.1
Frequent testing is part of ABC. Waiting for test results creates anxiety. However, stable results boost your mood. You find renewed hope to continue fighting.
“Every negative result!!”
Focus on the positive
Another way you maintain hope is not letting the bad things overwhelm you. There are certainly plenty of negatives living with ABC. It is not an easy path. You choose to invest your energy in seeing the positive. You appreciate your family and friends. You acknowledge what you can do. You keep living your life, enjoying the days you have.
“I try not to focus on anything bad going on and concentrate on the good.”
“I don’t dwell on it. Some days are harder than others, but I won’t let this define who I am or how I plan on living my life right now.”
“One day at a time.”
Drawing on your faith
Many of you draw strength from your faith. Belief in a higher power and spending time in prayer encourages you. Spiritual hope is believing you are not alone.
“My Catholic faith.”
“My faith in God.”
Maintaining hope with MBC is not easy
It is okay to struggle. Some days, you may feel like one community member who shared, “I am trying so very hard.” This community is here to listen and be a source of support. We appreciate hearing about the ways you maintain hope and when you cannot. Thank you for being vulnerable with us and each other.
Have you checked off any items on the Women's Health Self-Care Challenge?