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02-15-2018 Breast Cancer Sisters

Girls On Car

Sister-like support is a treasure. There are many breast cancer support groups & networks where we can share our heart freely, be listened to and understood. Sometimes we're shaken to the core. We're in shock, confused & anxious about all the unknowns….all the decisions. To find someone who is a littler further down the path from us is so valuable. They've found their way through and they are ok. They have perspective from their experiences that we're hungry to hear. They affirm our feelings aren't crazy. They listen, make us laugh, cry & want to hug them, even though they may live around the world. And then, all of a sudden, there are new women that we are helping support along the way. And it feels good to do that. It gives meaning and purpose if our experiences help make the path a little clearer and easier for someone else. Close friendships are formed on the battlefield.

I hope you have a good support network. Sometimes family and friends are supportive and sometimes, even if they want to be, they just can't understand from the inside out. No matter what, you don't need to "go it alone." There are online support communities for almost anything you struggle with. There are support groups for each type of reconstruction surgery (various types of flap, implant and fat graft surgeries) and there are support groups if you choose not to reconstruct like Flat & Fabulous.

One of the first breast cancer support groups I became aware of was breastcancer.org. It's a very large, active site. On the home page, there are many practical topics helping walk you through essential information related to: symptoms /diagnosis, treatments and side effects; reconstruction options; day to day matters and much more. Once you log in, you have a side bar that includes Active Topics, My Favorite Topics, Private Messaging and Search options that help ease navigation on your specific areas of interest.

I really like the Sisters in Scars facebook group. It's very simple to navigate and almost every post receives prompt and encouraging responses covering a multitude of breast cancer concerns and issues. Click here for the Sisters In Scars website.

I have learned so much about hereditary breast cancer from Tracy, the founder of BRCAStrong (facebook group and website brcastrong.org). Instead of being devastated by discovering she was BRCA2 positive in her early 20's, she has become a (self proclaimed) "Soul on Fire" to inspire, inform and support Previvors . "BRCAStrong will navigate you through the process with others who are making the same decisions and facing the same fears. Empowering women living with reconstruction or no reconstruction after mastectomies is imperative. We can help women network with the right foundation and physicians to properly support their needs. Our mission is to support, educate, inspire and empower Previvors & Survivors, to eliminate the feeling of isolation.”

Hopefully, you have found a place to give and receive support. The depth of friendship formed in the "battleground" is one of the beautiful silver linings that can out of experiencing cancer or hereditary risk.

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