Knowledge is Power
When you first receive a breast cancer diagnosis, there are so many decisions to make. The blur of the diagnosis, frantic phone calls with family and friends, doctor appointments, scheduling procedures, and more, prepare you for the initial stages of battle. What many people don’t realize is that the very treatment for fighting cancer can leave the body with unexpected damage.
Don’t get me wrong…I fully believe that chemotherapy saved my life. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at age 44 and when I learned about how aggressive this type of cancer was, I knew I didn’t have a choice when it came to treatment. I wanted to do everything in my power to rid my body of the malignant cells. However, in the moment you sit in the oncologist’s office, and you hear about the potential side effects of chemotherapy, you hone in on the immediate concerns, not the potential aftermath that chemotherapy and radiation treatments can trigger.
Just as I was celebrating the end of my 5-month chemotherapy treatment and preparing for a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis through a bone density (DEXA) scan that my oncologist ordered. I was so wrapped up in dealing with the breast cancer treatment that I didn’t realize that the exposure to chemotherapy could cause so much bone loss in such a brief period of time. I always took care of myself, ate healthy foods, engaged in regular cardiovascular activity, and lifted weights as I knew it would help to strengthen my bones. I was now being told I was in full-blown osteoporosis and had the bones of an 85-year-old.
I did not allow this information to deter me. I quickly found a rheumatologist, began treatment, and managed to slow the progression of the bone loss. Knowing that I am taking active steps to decelerate this condition makes me feel strong.
When it comes to breast cancer, you quickly discover that knowledge is power. Sharsheret provides a safe, trustworthy space for individuals to receive information, guidance, and support. The sharing of important information amongst the Sharsheret community strengthens us all and equips us with the knowledge we need to repair and flourish.