When I was first diagnosed, the biggest challenge was accepting help. While I was getting treated, I lost my job and ran through my savings. I found out about the AiRS Foundation, which gives financial aid to women who can’t afford reconstruction; they paid for my surgeries.
Being honest with others and myself helped me through treatment. Initially, I downplayed the situation because I wanted to seem strong. Once I embraced the fact that it was going to be a tough year or two, I stopped beating myself up when I couldn’t be the mom I used to be. Some days I had to stay in bed all day and ask other parents to pick up my kids from school, and that was OK.
The biggest change I’ve made since battling breast cancer is building a smaller but stronger network of friends. At first, I was depressed about good friends who seemed to disappear, and my grandmother said, “You’re so focused on everyone who isn’t there for you that you’re not able to appreciate those who are.” Once I shifted my mindset, I strengthened my relationships with those who did want to go on this journey with me. – Asia C., 34, diagnosed two years ago with stage 3
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