Tips from a two-time breast cancer patient

In July 2013, then 27-year-old Lindsay was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma ER/PR+ HER2- breast cancer. She soon made her way to Dana-Farber’s Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers and, with her doctors, made the choice to have a double mastectomy with no radiation. But almost five years later, she found another lump in the same spot—it was a recurrence of her cancer.

A two-time survivor, Lindsay knows the ropes of treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute like the back of her hand. Despite her difficult treatment, Lindsay found positivity in her son, Charlie, and in the Dana-Farber community.

Now, she wants to give back to that community. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, she’s sharing, in her own words, some tips for getting through treatment, no matter your diagnosis:

  1. Know the resources that are available to you. Dana-Farber has many programs and resources to help patients, including young people and parents, and to connect you with others in similar situations. I am thankful to Dana-Farber on so many levels and proud to tell others about the care I received.
  • Take it one day at a time—sometimes even one hour at a time. It can be difficult to be a patient when you are looking at the whole mountain of your treatment regimen towering over you. Stay focused on your own two feet and take one step at a time.
  • Stay positive! My biggest motivator for staying positive was my son. I wanted him to see that mommy is a fighter and together we can conquer anything. Some days, I lift myself up, but some days he reaches out his hand and pulls me up.
  • On your treatment days, wear comfortable clothes, bring a water bottle, and an iPad or a book. Reach out to friends and let them know that it is a treatment day so you can FaceTime or text to stay connected. Bring some of your favorite snacks—I like something light to munch on or some mints or hard candies.
  • Relax! Once you are home from treatment, take time to rest and slow down. A heated blanket is amazing and so soothing.
  • Taking medication to minimize symptoms doesn’t make you any less tough. Take the meds, take the naps, and take the help! Your loved ones want to help, but they don’t always know how, so don’t be afraid to ask! You’ve GOT this!

We are so appreciative of Lindsay’s advice for managing treatment. Have tips of your own to add? Leave them in the comments!