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Tools to Cope with A Diagnosis During COVID-19

By Chris Breton, Assistant Director at To Life!

The world as we know it has changed due to COVID-19. We now social distance. We are told to “stay in place” to stop the spread of coronavirus. Flatten the curve. Everyone is worried about their health and the health of their loved ones. And in addition to all that’s happening, you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and waiting to start treatment.

Coronavirus has also caused medical protocols to change. When we visit a doctor’s office or hospital, we must follow different procedures. Surgeries are being delayed. Chemo treatments are being delayed. I remember wanting to start my breast cancer treatment as soon as possible, but I had to wait for other things (tests, surgeries, etc.) to fall into place before I could start. With the current state of affairs, and new protocols in place, the wait time to start treatment may be longer than we would prefer. It’s also a time full of stress and anxiety.

What to do while you wait?

Focus on the things you can control like how you spend your day (within guidelines currently in place).

Work on scheduling. Arrange for rides to treatment. Schedule babysitters for your kids. Figure out how you will handle your job duties during treatment.

Get your house in order. Clean. Organize. Try and check things off your “to do” list.

Cook meals that you can freeze so that you won’t have to worry about cooking later when you should be resting.  

Plan for how you want to handle hair loss…wig (color and style), hats, scarves.

Do some online browsing for things that will make your breast cancer journey more comfortable. Your favorite scented candles. Bath and body products. Satin pillow cases. Comfortable clothing.

Take care of your mental health.  Reach out to a friend, loved one, healthcare provider, or breast cancer support group (meetings are available virtually and by phone) to talk about how you are feeling.

Try and be patient. I know…it’s really, really, hard to be patient during this time, but if you feel you like you have taken control and gotten yourself prepared for the days ahead, moving forward might be a little easier in the long run and reduce your stress level.

And lastly, To Life! Is here for you. We can provide services to help you at all stages of your breast cancer journey. Whether you are newly diagnosed, out of treatment, or dealing with a recurrence, To Life! Is here for you every step of the way. Although our offices are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the staff and volunteers at To Life! will continue to meet the needs of our clients as best that we can under the current circumstances. We are offering pre-fitting wig consultations via phone or videoconferencing with our wig boutique stylist. Our bra and mastectomy consultants are also available for consultation. Our support groups are meeting virtually and you can also receive one on one support by phone or videoconferencing. You don’t have to face breast cancer alone. We are here for you.