Understanding the Sights, Sounds and Smell of Breast Cancer
An Expensive Tribulation
No one ever mentions all the indignities that accompany breast cancer. Some things are surprising ugly, especially the finances of it. Breast cancer is not a cheap disease.
For those with no insurance it has to be an absolute nightmare and even for those with insurance there are a myriad of medical and unexpected expenses that must be coped with.
This is definitely a time for flex health benefits, if your company offers it. There is also a co-pay assistance organization (however, they are selective on what cancer they support at any given time) but apply anyway or at least get on their radar as a strong resource should you need their help: The website is: http://www.cancercopayrelief.org/.
The healthiest budget can experience the strain of no limit co-pays when you are faced with breast cancer. You also have the tests; biopsies, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, physical therapy; prosthesis fitting and purchases, special bras, wigs; and clothing that enhance and cover up imperfections. Not to mention the food, all of which, can add a strain to your budget.
There are no limits to all the things you need just to stay sane in the fight of your life. The list is long and varied, lotions, vaginal powder, baking soda, cornstarch, personal wet wipes, specialty designed bras, wigs, wig holders – it is an extensive list and some things it is best not leave the house without.
Food, Sounds and Smells
There is also the experimentation with food once you have lost your taste buds and when everything taste metallic because of the chemo and other drugs. The money you spend trying to find food that you can taste and digest. Lots of water to flush out the medicines and to keep hydrated.
The doctor will tell you to eat the food anyway, even if you cannot taste it, because you need the nutrients. It is hard to do because our relationship with food is based on seeing it, tasting it and loving the smells of good food not just eating it because it is there.
Some things change: stamina, fingernails change colors, funky odors, dry skin, hair loss (everywhere), magnetic mouth (food sticks to your mouth); you always have to check the mirror to make sure you have wiped your mouth. Lotions and moisturizers are a big part of your life.
One of the best moisturizes for the arms, legs and your scar is very simple, Vaseline and cocoa butter. It works and it blends with the nauseating flowery smell of the chemo to give off a clean wholesome smell.
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The End Goal
The goal, however, is to be a breast cancer survivor. However, it is hard to ignore the sights, sounds, smells that happen as your body changes and adapts to the medicine that is required to bring you through the ordeal.
Whatever combination of treatment and medicines; chemo, Herceptin, Paclitaxel, radiation therapy, immunotherapy or surgery, prescribed for you - follow the advice, take the traditional choice, dance around or incorporate the holistic methods, suffer the radiation, deal with the hair loss with grace and run confidently into the future as a survivor.
The long and short of a diagnosis of breast cancer is to make a conscious effort to live so you inspire yourself and others, leave a legacy, if it can be done, help others if they want the help and, of course, to make a valiant and aggressive fight for your life and never give up.
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© 2014 E. Jeannie Sanders
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