No matter how you may be feeling, the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do this alone. There are many ways to get help, and there are many people who have specific training to help women in your situation. They can help you get through the dicult emotions that you will have when living with metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
Even if you’re not used to listening to your own feelings or fears, try to find the courage to do so. Be patient with yourself if this takes time. Be good to yourself, trust your instincts, and be honest about what your needs are. You do not have to feel positive all the time – nobody should ask that of you, yourself included. However, a positive attitude may help the process and reduce stress. Just be your own best friend and try to be positive when you can.
Who is available to help you will depend on your local hospital and area. Ask your doctor for information about who can help you – even if you don’t plan to reach out right away. Below are some of the different specialists trained to help women living with MBC:
Can help you and/or your family talk about your diagnosis and develop strategies for coping with how people are feeling. Some counsellors provide support to just you as an individual, others focus on couples’ therapy, or on the whole family.
Are doctors, specialising in the emotional aspects of cancer. They can help you with the psychological challenges related to adjusting to your illness and the impact on your relationships.
Can provide information on how to talk to your family. They can guide you to useful community resources such as financial assistance, help with household tasks, or babysitting
Have completed specialist courses in psychological support and symptom management for breast cancer. They may answer any questions related to your illness, and can also provide a key link between you and dierent healthcare professionals and support services.
Can provide an environment where you can meet up with other women like you, who also have MBC. These women may feel as you do, and have similar questions. You may find that they ‘get it’ in a way that family and friends simply cannot. If you can’t find a patient support group close to you, you can find online communities of women with MBC. The Resources section of this guide has a list of local and online patient support groups for MBC.
Is a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, and therapists who can improve the quality of life for you and your family and provide psychological support throughout your illness. Palliative care can include everything from pain management to complementary therapies and family counselling. Please refer to Me & My plan in part 2 of this guide for more information about palliative care (page 116).
! You DO NOT have to go through this alone.
Lots of women like you reach out for support from people beyond their immediate friends and family.✓
There are counsellors and doctors who are specially trained and experienced in helping women with MBC.✓
Patient support groups help you meet other women with MBC who are going through the same experiences as you.