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Living With Stage 4 Breast Cancer



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Heart Matters

3 thoughts on “Heart Matters”

  1. Thank you Nancy for inviting feedback! And thank you Marcia for your wise counsel/advice. I agree with all and couldn’t have said it better. Nancy, you are such a beautiful woman, inside and out. I will be praying for your heart test tomorrow. With love, Andrea

  2. Hi Marcia – good advice and my gut tells me the same things.

    I have started to tell people I’d like to make plans as long as they know I may not be able to make it and I won’t know until that day arrives. So if they can be flexible we can tentatively plan on something.

    Just yesterday, I was hesitant to take a FaceTime call from a family member because I had been in bed all day and looked awful. I’m so glad I took that call as I got to see my niece and nephew (who live really far away) their kids, and their adorable lovebird pet. It was a joy and no one cared what I looked like, they just poured love into me through their faces and showing me things on the screen. It was a wonderful uplifting moment I would have missed if I’d been afraid to let them see me at my worst.

  3. Nancy, Thank you for sharing your experience. You’re a great writer and people want to know, some because they’re curious, and others… because they truly care. Here are my thoughts about those questions in Psychology Today. These are just my opinions, of course…

    Do I accept an invitation from a friend to get together or do I refuse it? It depends on how important that “friend” is to you and if it’s someone you want to keep in your circle, I’d say something like, ” I am so happy you asked, but honestly I’m just not feeling well enough to do that. Instead, I would love it if you come to visit me. My house may not be clean, and I may be having a bad hair day, but I would like to visit with you. And please, keep inviting me even if I don’t come. It means a lot that you think of me.” Or you can reply that it is your intention to attend an event, etc. but let the person know that it will have to be a last-minute decision based on how you are feeling that day. If they are your friend, they will understand and support that.

    Do I tell family and friends how I’m faring with my health or do I keep it to myself? We all have a handful, at most, of true friends and family that care deeply about us. To those people, Yes, tell them. These are the people who would drop what they’re doing to be by your side when you need them. You know who they are. And it’s fine to ask them not to ask you too many questions or to treat you differently. It helps everyone if you can talk openly and without reservation. Do not increase your sense of isolation by not sharing. Be selective; I know that some people want to know and are hesitant to ask, so share with your inner circle – the people who will respect the emotional boundaries you need while being willing to walk through them when invited.

    Do I keep a routine follow-up doctor’s appointment or do I cancel it? Totally up to you. If you might get new information that will answer a question you have, try to go. Otherwise, feel empowered by your decision.

    Do I try to look my best when I’m around other people or do I let my looks reflect how I’m really feeling? It depends. If it’s your handful of meaningful people, be how you feel at that moment on that day. They love you regardless. If you want to get out and aren’t up to making yourself look great, so what? Don’t exhaust yourself on the prep if it will help you better enjoy the actual experience of being out. On the other hand, if it’s starting to affect your mood and drags you down into a daily slump, put on a piece of clothing that makes you feel good and make an effort. You don’t have to look “your best” but you can look better than you did when you rolled out of bed… if you want to. I think it’s important that your inner circle knows how you really feel. Otherwise, people may say,”Nancy looks great. I had no idea she was feeling so sick that day.” Your friends and family want to help you but don’t want to patronize you, so let them know what you need and want.

    If a special opportunity arises, do I go beyond what I know my body can comfortably handle or do I play it safe? This is totally up to you. If you constantly push yourself to do things, it may be too much. However, if there’s an opportunity to do something you really want to do and it’s within your reach, do it if you can. Perhaps a friend or family can spend time with you afterward if you know you’ll feel depleted. Your peeps will be happy to do that.

    Do I try a new treatment someone is urging on me or do I take a pass? Your choice. You’ve likely researched this more than anyone who might give you advice, so trust your instinct.

    Do I pursue a new interest even though it exacerbates my symptoms or do I stick to my old routine? If your routine keeps you content, stick with it. If you feel feel stale and yucky and not like yourself, then pursue something new. Perhaps there’s a way to do it on your terms.

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