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Nurturing the Mind and Body: Exploring the Importance of Mental Health and a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Most people focus on the physical aspect of breast cancer-the diagnosis, treatment plans, and recovery. But, I think it's important to recognize that the disease goes beyond the body and encapsulates the mind which can effect mental health in many ways. There are many ways my mental health has taken a toll over the last two and a half years since being diagnosed September 2020.


Emotionally, I've been numb. My friends and family tell me I should give myself grace but what does that look like? Life doesn't stop because of my Stage 4 diagnosis. I am still a wife, mother, aunt, sister, daughter, friend, and person with my own individuality. Going through the motions has been a theme for me for a while but I have been taking the necessary steps to manage my emotions.


Seeking help from a mental health professional is something I think is needed whenever you don't feel like yourself. I've met with a few therapists over the years and have used a combination of coping techniques to help with my mental health. I've used social media to hare my story, journal when I have good and bad moments, exercise, and listen to music when I feel my mind shift in a negative way.


Some of the mental health challenges I faced or am facing are depression, anxiety (especially during examinations), and body imaging issues. But, one of the biggest challenges I faced was the inability to breastfeed my son. My son was our third child and I finally felt like I knew the proper way to nurse. I did more research, purchased the breast pump and accessories, started storing breastmilk weeks after he was born and more. Only to be told when he was nine weeks old that I had cancer.


Hearing such disheartening news weeks after given birth during a global pandemic was a lot to handle.

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