Though June was Cancer Awareness Month, we need to remember that every day living with cancer is about being aware of the power you have in yourself. As a Cancer Tamer, I want to share my knowledge to help empower you. Below are six aspects to keep in mind daily.
- Advocating for yourself:
Speak up for yourself; don’t feel intimidated by your doctors. If you have a question, or you want to question their decision, then do so. I give you permission. Obtaining a second opinion will help you to decide what is best for YOU. You are allowed to do this (please make sure your insurance company will cover the visit)
2. Educate yourself:
It’s easy to close your eyes to what is going on, but it isn’t advantageous to do so. Read up on your cancer from a reputable site such as: www.carecare.org (American Cancer Society), www.nih.gov (National Institute of health), www.aicr.org (American Institute of Cancer Research, and so many more. Or ask your doctors about sites, view resources on our website www.cancertamer.org. Once you understand what you have, what is needed, it will help you make an educated decision on your treatment.
While going through the cancer diagnosis, cancer operation, radiation, or chemotherapy, it can play havoc on your health and stress levels; which doesn’t help your immune system. Though your family is a wonderful place to start to talk about what you feel, and a support group could give you hope, you might still need to speak to someone professionally if you get anxiety, depression, or feel hopeless. These are all natural to feel. Everyone’s process is different. I’ve heard of some that felt frightened, anxious, angry, hopeless, stronger for getting through it, empowered, and ready to help others.
4. Health Insurance:
Always check with your insurance to confirm that they will cover the cost (or partial cost) of your care. Understand your insurance policy, communicate with your health team. Make sure you have access to your medical history. Usually, the hospital or office will confirm that you are covered for expensive tests, confirm it anyway. And, if you are extremely fatigued, brain fog, etc., please choose a trusted family member or friend to do this for you. If you do not have health insurance, speak to a counselor, nurse navigator, or your doctor for help.
There are so many resources out there for you. You can access them on this site. Some organizations will help by paying part of your rent, food, car insurance, heat, etc. You can apply for Access-A-Ride, if approved, they will drive you to your doctor appointments.
6: Communicate with your health team:
Make sure you have access to your medical history. Ask questions, don’t be shy. Write down your questions prior to visiting your doctor, keep a journal of your side effects (dates, how strong the pain was from a scale from 1-10, 10 being the worst). If possible, have someone accompany you to the visit, so they can write down what the doctor says. It’s very hard to think straight when so much is going on. (The above information was provided by cancer care.org. 800 813-4673)
Debra Santulli-Barone as Segment Producer on Cancer Tamer Talk Show, “Did you know…,” Debra enjoys researching information and sharing her discoveries and insights by educating the community. Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, Debra is dedicated in helping empower women to overcome the challenges they face with breast cancer and other forms of cancer. She is a dynamic lady who helps with her son’s anti-bullying group, Play it Forward NY. She has a Bachelor Degree in Corporate Communications, minors in Journalism and Business. Her former job was Executive Director of the non-profit, Myasthenia Gravis Alliance in New York City. An avid music lover and dancer, what keeps her young is enjoying the original music her sons compose for their label Red Planet Records LLC. She is grateful for her loving family, friends, Cancer Tamer, and the Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church.