Community Shares: Realistic Tips for Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer
There is no doubt that life looks different after an metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Many people discover that they need to shift and make a new life for themselves.
To learn more about what lifestyle changes have helped community members navigate their diagnosis, we reached out to followers of our Facebook page. We asked members to tell us: “What are realistic tips for living with metastatic breast cancer?”
Nearly 60 of you weighed in with valuable suggestions and advice. Here is what was shared.
Learn to ask for and accept support
The most common suggestion shared by community members was to accept help whenever it is offered and ask for help when you can. Metastatic breast cancer is not something you need to do alone. Remember that there is no extra credit for doing this without support. Instead, this is the time to say "yes" to those who offer. They want to show their love and friendship by supporting you in the ways they can.
“Find support and inspiration along the way.”
“Ask for help when you need it or want it. Some people are afraid to offer.”
“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 support of family and friends.”
Rest when you need to
This diagnosis tends to be hard on the body, and many people living with metastatic breast cancer find they cannot push themselves as much as they once did. Instead, it can help to learn to check in with your body several times during the day to see how you are feeling. If it is possible to rest, take a timeout. Your body is managing this disease, and it needs extra energy to do so. Resting can help the body heal, and it can also help mentally. It is hard to keep going day-to-day when feeling tired and worn out.
“Try to get enough sleep and exercise.”
“Learn to rest, not quit.”
“Take it easy when your body tells you.”
Do not let worry take over
After receiving a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, it is common to spend a lot of time worrying. However, worrying does not help anyone get better. In fact, it can lead to stress. A handful of people in the community suggested finding ways to limit how much you worry. One method is to keep the mind busy with hobbies, such as crosswords, knitting, or sudoku. Another technique is to address your worries each day. Ask yourself if your worries are something that can or need to be solved today. Ask yourself if the worrying is helping and what you can do to take a break from your thoughts. It is OK to experiment until you find what works.
“Learn how to curb an overactive imagination.”
“Find a hobby or something to keep busy. The mind is your own worst enemy.”
“Do not worry until you have to worry.”
Live your life
Many in the community shared that they found a way to keep going. They allow bad days but also allow for joy, laughter, and good days. There is much wisdom in the saying "One day at a time."
“Try to be positive even when the situation is not favorable. Scream, cry, laugh, or smile. Today the pain is not letting you do the things you want to do, and that is OK. Hope for a better tomorrow. One day at a time.”
“Find at least 1 thing every day to be joyful about. Do something kind for others as often as you can. Be grateful for things in your life.”
“Do not let it steal your joy.”
Thank you to everyone who was willing to offer their suggestions and ideas for this story. We are grateful to hear from so many.
What realistic tips do you have for living with metastatic breast cancer?
Do you have a safe space where others understand what you are going through?