When I was first diagnosed with Stage 1 IDC (ER/HER2 Positive) in January 2015, I put my Inner Nancy Drew to work immediately to find out what exactly I was dealing with, and what my treatment options were. (Well, after a good cry and a couple of glasses of wine.) There is a TON of information out there on the Web…the good, the bad, and the really scary. Each woman facing a Breast Cancer diagnosis must pick and chose for herself what she needs to assist her in her healing journey. But it helps to have a few of the “basics” readily available under such a stress-filled time, and that’s what I am hoping this Resource List will provide.
This is, in no way, a comprehensive of all the resources available. They are, however, places and things I’ve found that really help me. As I am still in the middle of treatment, I’ll be adding to this list along the way as new items show up. Please check back often.
Also, LET’S SHARE THE CARE! If you know of other helpful, appropriate resources not listed here, please let me know in the comment section below. I’ll be happy to check them out and add those that I think are a good match for this blog.
May you be guided by Grace on your journey to heal. May you thrive, and not just survive!
Note: You may be able to find these books elsewhere, but I’ve linked up these publications to Amazon.com because that’s where I buy the majority of my new books (thanks to free shipping with my Prime Account). I found a couple of them at my favorite Good Will store, as well!
“Breast Cancer? Breast Health!” The Wise Woman Way”, Susan S. Weed. Ash Tree Publishing, Woodstock New York.
“Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book”, Susan M. Love, M.D. with Karen Lindsey. De Capo Press, Boston, Massachusetts.
“Heal Breast Cancer Naturally – 7 Essential Steps to Beating Breast Cancer”, Dr. Veronique Desaulniers. TCK Publishing.
“Radical Remission – Surviving Cancer Against All Odds”, Kelly A. Turner, PhD. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY.
“Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom – Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing”, Christiane Northrup, MD. Bantam Books, New York
I am a life long, die-hard foodie. Cooking relaxes me, I LOVE to eat good food of all kinds, and feeding other people is one of my primary love languages. After I was diagnosed, self-care became my top priority. Part of that was cooking tasty nutritional food whenever I had the energy – both for myself as well as my family. Cooking is as good for the soul as it is for the body.
These books have some delicious easy recipes for those undergoing chemotherapy. They also include pertinent information on managing side effects, and the importance of good nutrition to help us heal. Food is our medicine, too.
“Cooking Through Cancer Treatment To Recovery,” Lisa A. Price, ND, and Susan Gins, MA, MS, CN. Demos Health, New York, NY.
“Eating Well Through Cancer”, Holly Clegg and Gerald Miletello, MD. Favorite Recipes Press, Nashville, TN.
I wish I had known about this CD before my first treatment, but I didn’t until right before my 4th round. Be that as it may, I sensed a distinctly positive difference in my attitude towards chemotherapy after only a few uses. Because it works on the subconscious mind, if you fall asleep while listening, you still get all the benefits – AND much-needed rest! Listening to this works great at 3:00 a.m. when you wake up with too much stuff running in your head!
“A Meditation to Help You With Chemotherapy.”, Belleruth Naparstek. Health Journeys, Akron, Ohio. The author also has a number of other meditation CDs to help with things like “Fight Cancer”, “Radiation Therapy”, and “Relaxation and Wellness”.
There are many, many organizations that cater specifically to those dealing with Breast Cancer. I signed up for all of the big ones but only stayed long enough at many of them to glean what I could in terms of helping myself through the various treatments (needle biopsies, chemotherapy, radiation, Herceptin, etc.)
Sadly – and this is not a judgement, just an observation – many of those sites were filled with stories from women going through all kinds of horrendous side effects and devastating diagnoses far worse than mine, as well as other life challenges. I found that reading through the posts added additional emotional weight when I was already doing everything I could to keep my head above water, so I didn’t stay long. From Day 1, my choice has been to focus on all things POSITIVE, as much as possible.
Here I’ve listed a few organizations that provided me “real-time” assistance, and that were of great benefit. Each woman should do her own investigating, and make choices that are right for her.
American Cancer Society The American Cancer Society has a wealth of information and resources. All one has to do is call them, and the volunteer will very kindly offer all sorts of help. For example, they put on a terrific class called, “Look Good/Feel Better” (See more info with the link below).
Also, the American Cancer Society can provide one (1) free wig to a person who has lost their hair due to treatment. You don’t have to be financially strapped in order to get one, either. Just call 800-277-2345. The volunteer can help with finding a wig bank location in your area (also nationwide). They also can give you information on Breast Cancer Support groups nearby if you are interest, and they have a service which will provide transportation to and from chemotherapy treatments when given at least a 4 day notice.
BreastCancer.org Breastcancer.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing all the latest information on breast cancer. Their mission states there are there “to help women and their loved ones make sense of the complex medical and personal information about breast health and breast cancer, so they can make the best decisions for their lives.” Lots of great information on symptoms of breast cancer, treatments, side effects, how to handle the day-to-day while dealing with it and a plethora of other good info.
Chemo Angels Chemo Angels is another one of my favorite finds. Chemo Angels pairs of a person undergoing chemotherapy with an “Angel”….someone who will, over the course of the patients treatment, send them cards with uplifting messages and lots of positive energy. I adore my Chemo Angel Candy! She makes the most adorable handmade cards, and is faithful to send at least one a week. Her notes are always timely…a short, sweet written “hug” to help me through the day. Candy and I also decided to exchange email addresses and keep in touch that way.
I’ve been so touched by this program that when I am done with my own treatment plan, I want to volunteer to be someone else’s Chemo Angel. Never underestimate the impact that hearing “How are you feeling today? I am thinking of you!!” has on someone on this journey…
Look Good/Feel Better Sponsored by the ACS, this free workshop helps us to look our best while undergoing treatment, which in turn. lifts our spirits and helps us to feel better. Our self-esteem can take a major hit during this trying time. Most of us lose our hair due to the chemo drugs – including eye lashes and eyebrows for a lot of women – which can be very traumatic. It’s hard to feel our best when we experience other significant physical changes in our bodies as well – changes to our skin, weight loss/weight gain, loss of energy, etc.
In a Look Good, Feel Better workshop, each woman gets a lovely package of cosmetic products (mine was worth over $300 with name brands like Channel, Estée Lauder, SmashBox and more!) We then use these products on ourselves with the step-by-step guidance of the instructor. Topics covered include taking care of personal hygiene, make up application, how to tie head scarfs, how to wear a wig, what clothes work best for dealing with surgeries and ports, etc. These awesome workshops are held all nationwide and are free of charge.
HERConnection For those of us who were diagnosed as having cancer that expresses HER2 positive (Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2), this is a very educational organization to join. Oncology nurses are ready and willing to any answer questions about the drug itself, how it works, potential side effects – you name it! You can register online, or call 866-449-HER2. They will send you a Welcome Kit as well as some other goodies in the mail. You will also receive (if desired) a monthly check in call from a nurse. She’ll ask how you are doing and if you are having any issues. Since Herceptin is taken intravenously for a year, I think this is a terrific resource.