This list was curated by Shades of Brown Foundation. According to the American Cancer Society, African- American women are dying at a 40% higher rate when compared to other women. Shades of Brown Foundation's mission is to empower, educate and encourage African -American women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
If you can, bring a buddy with you to treatment(s). If you're like me, you may have go through this alone. You must always be your own advocate for excellent care/treatment. No offense to health care workers but things get done if you are polite but proactive. People alone may not have someone to speak up for them when needed, so be your own advocate.
Breathe even though things seem like they are speed balling towards you and you have to get everything done, take a moment to slow down and take a breath. Take 30 minutes for yourself and pray, meditate or just sit and relax.
C – Carpe Diem
Life is short so seize the day.
D – Depression
BC diagnosis & treatment may seem overwhelming but we have to fight the Beast. Please tell your Oncologist if you are feeling depressed or anxious for more than a few days often. It's normal but there is nothing wrong with asking for help (therapy, support group, medications if necessary)
E – Exercise
Exercise regularly, whether walking, biking, swimming to help encourage bone health and promote a healthier lifestyle. Exercise can also help maintain muscle strength, coordination and balance which in turn helps prevent falls and related fractures.
F – Freedom
Freedom to Feel How you Feel/Give Yourself Freedom to Feel.
G – Grateful
Find something to be grateful for every day.
H – Hydrate
Hydrate. Hydrate. Drinking water helps to keep you hydrated and relieve dry mouth. Also helps to alleviate tooth decay associated with benedryl/meds dry mouth.
I – Inspire
Inspire & encourage each other. Be inspired, Be an inspiration!
J – Joyful
Be Joyful! Celebrate life. Appreciate every day!
K – Know
Know your breast cancer type and subtype.
L – Listen
Listen to your body and get a second opinion if you feel the need to.
M – Medications
Medications/chemo drugs. Healthcare workers may find it annoying but you need to know every drug/medication(s) being put in your body. Do not be afraid to ask or examine the IV labels. It's a great fail safe for allergies as well.
N – Notes
Take notes. You will not remember everything said at your Dr visits. You can try to take notes or Ask your oncologist if it's okay to video or record office visits and transcribe later.
O – Opportunity
Take every opportunity to live life! Don't let your diagnosis get you down. There may be rainy days, but the sun will shine again!
P – Proactive
Be extremely pro-active. Make it happen. Time works against us in treatment. You want a team that will get the right scans/procedures/results in a timely matter.
Q – Quality
Step up your quality of life! Live, love, laugh out loud, dance. Every day is a gift!
R – Research
Research everything. Treatment plan and long term side effects.
S –Self Care
Be kind to yourself. Prayer, laughter, meditation, acupuncture, massage etc. Find what gives you strength.
T – Tooth Care
Tooth care is a must. Speak to your Oncologist/team about prevention of dry mouth tooth/gum decay. Ask about flouride tooth gel products like Prevident and dry mouth washes like Biotene, Zeltrom, Xylitol. Be sure to brush (2xday) and floss. And, most importantly, drink water, drink water, drink water.
U – Urgent Care
Because of dehydration and such, you may need to visit an Urgent Care facility during your treatment for IV hydration or side effects. Remember to keep a list of the medications you are taking on your phone (some get medical alert bracelets).
V – Vote
There are many bills and laws that affect healthcare especially breast cancer. Reach out to your representative to see where they stand on healthcare issues that directly affect the community. Let them know know what's important to you.
W – Write
Write down any questions or concerns to share with your oncologist during your next visit.
X – X-Rays
X-Rays, CT Scans, MRI’s are all scary. Scanxiety is real. No cancer patient should have to wait a week(s) for scan results. Discuss policy for that on initial visit. How many days for results? Try not to have scans just before weekends or major holidays. But, your priority is getting scans results back as soon as possible.
Y – You
You are your best advocate. Speak with your doctor and continue to research the facts on your breast cancer. Take an active part in saving your life.
Z – Zest
“Continue to have Zest for life because we living baby”.
To get involved with Shades of Brown Foundation or to make a donation, please contact via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.