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Five Things African American Women Can Do to Cope with Breast Cancer

Zekita Tucker | 10/21/2009, 9:37 p.m.

Learning that you have breast cancer can be one of the most shocking and life altering moments of your entire life. The initial diagnosis can bring on feelings of not only worry, but life€s fragility. Your time becomes precious and your sense of purpose kicks into overdrive.

Breast cancer is affecting more young African American women each year and the ages continue to get younger. It€s extremely hard and will probably be the hardest thing you will ever have to go through in your life. Questions may arise such as: How did this happen? Why me? And what am I going to do now? I had all of these same questions, after all, I was only 31-years-old and in good health when I was diagnosed. These are common feelings among women who have been diagnosed with this disease.

What is more important than the initial shock, the treatment and even surgery, is the mental state of the woman after she learns that she has breast cancer. For every woman who has recently been diagnosed and for every woman who knows another who has been diagnosed, here are five rules that we must all follow in order to ensure that our lives and the lives of our loved ones will be fulfilled while we take this journey.

1) Focus on getting better. Spend very little time thinking about the disease itself, rather, spend time thinking about your life after you get better. A nurse admitted to me that people get sicker when they spend too much time worrying about their illness.

2) Avoid morbid, pessimistic people. Even people that you love and who love you can become a drain on your spirit when they treat you like your diagnosis is an automatic death sentence. Many people recover from cancer and go on to lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

3) Change your diet. Don€t accept any of the soda, sweets, and other junk foods offered to you at your treatment center or anywhere else. A low/no dairy, low/no sugar, no alcohol, and junk free diet will help your body to fight against the tumor. Drink plenty of water, eat extra servings of fresh vegetables, and add extra fiber to your diet to cleanse your body.

4) Keep doing what you do. The initial diagnosis will be a serious blow and the chemotherapy treatments and surgery will knock you off your feet for a while, but keep your eyes on the prize. Staying focused on your family life (especially your children) helps you to maintain a positive and healthy mental state and will help your body to fight against the cancer and to recuperate from the toxicity of chemotherapy. The entire time that I have been going through treatments, I have been a single mother, a sociology student, and freelance writer and author. I never missed a beat, except when I was ill from the chemotherapy. I chose to continue living and thriving.

5) Pray, meditate, chant, or whatever it is that you do. Your mind needs to be cleansed when going through a battle with breast cancer. Your spirit should always be nurtured so that you may receive divine guidance. Spend little time sobbing and more time focused on what you want your outcome to be. Have faith that you will heal and trust that things will work out as they should.

As a breast cancer patient and self proclaimed €survivor€ of the disease, I know exactly what a woman goes through after she gets that call from her doctor. Some women choose to join support groups. There are other women who decide that the best way to deal with the disease and the forthcoming recovery is to cope in solitude and in silence. As a breast cancer patient, enduring the most toxic of chemotherapy treatments along with naturopathic treatments, I have learned that my immediate state of mind and well being contribute greatly to the way that my body has responded to the treatments and how well I am doing physically while on the road to recovery.

Zekita Tucker is freelance writer and the author of €Your Story Book One.€ Her articles have been published by many national and international publications and she has been featured by ABC World News and the Roland S. Martin radio show. To learn more please visit www.zeniampublications.com.