In honor of the end of breast cancer awareness month, I found it an appropriate time to discuss life AFTER cancer. For anyone who has been through the process, or knows someone who has, you know that breast cancer is not only physically taxing, but also an emotionally draining disease as well. The legacy of treatment and its side effects for a person can be huge.
Treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and hormone drugs can leave a woman with many physical and emotional changes to deal with. In a recent poll of more than 600 women conducted by Breast Cancer Care, the overwhelming majority of people who have had breast cancer (88%) said the disease and its treatment has had a negative impact on the way they now feel about their bodies. While there is no cookie cutter method for everyone, there are a few things you can do to help regain your confidence after a mastectomy or cancer therapy treatment.
Try following these three easy steps to a healthier, happier you.
First,try coming to terms with the changes to your body as soon as possible.
While it may be uncomfortable, Research has shown that the sooner you confront the physical changes to your body, the easier you may find it to gain confidence in the way you look. It may help to look at yourself in a full-length mirror fully clothed and pick out three things you really like about yourself. While it may seem like a silly exercise, coming to terms with your new appearance is the easiest way to feel more confident.
Second, consider your options.
For some women, surgical scars from a mastectomy are a badge of honor. For others, they may be something that causes a day-to-day struggle with self-esteem. For many, breast reconstruction surgery is a way to help regain your confidence and restore your body to a more natural appearance. Some women feel that breast reconstruction enhances their quality of life and helps them to feel more confident overall after a mastectomy.
Reconstructive surgery can be done in several ways, including removing skin from the upper thigh, or from the lower abdominal area in order to replace the tissue that was lost during the mastectomy. Nipple tattooing is even an option in order to complete the over all look. Doing proper research ensures you will end up with a result that truly makes you happy.
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Finally, find comfort in others like you.
The beauty of the web is the ability to reach millions of people just like you. Forums, online organizations, and groups promoting local breast cancer survivor unions are all quite prominent online. Join one. Connect with others who share your life experience. Sometimes, just having someone who understands you is enough.
There is no cookie cutter method for regaining your confidence after cancer. However, it is important to move forward, celebrate you, your health, and all life has to offer you!