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    User: GregP_WN

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    Other Care (ongoing follow up): It is very important to keep all appointmens and do all of your followup care. You have to make your health your number one priority. We all have busy lives and it is easy to skip appointments and put things off. DON'T. You owe it to yourself and those you love to take care of yourself.

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    Decision Point: After the inital diagnosis, there are lots of decisions to make:

    1. Choice of doctors and hospitals
    2. Course of treatment - surgery, drugs, radiation - lots of people, including doctors, have lots of different opnions. Your head starts spinning.

    Most important point - YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE!

    After inital shock and discussions with doctors, I realized I had to take control and be in charge of my life. After that, I felt more positive and was determined to move on. I did a lot of research, asked a lot of questions, and made sure I understood everything. That helped me feel in control and make the right decisions. One healthcare provider told me "I'm in charge and I know what's best for you." I disagree. I am in charge and you are here to help me get well. Needless to say, I did not go back to that doctor. Mayo Clinic understood my philosophy and we worked together on my successful treatment.

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    Loss (loss of people I met who had cancer): You meet a lot of people with cancer, various diagnoses and various stages. During radiation, you see the same people for a number of weeks and you become comrades in the fight against cancer. I well remember the first loss of a person going through chemo and radiation while I was going through radiation. While I knew some of these "comrades" would not make it, it was still a shock to have someone die. I stayed in touch with some of the people I met. We have celebrated our milestones and we have cried over those we have lost. It is good to have an open heart, in spite of the hurt.

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    Celebration (Finished treatment): My family, friends and co-workers were super. That means so much. I suggest telling everyone about your diagnosis and treatment. Engage others and ask them to pray for you! It really helps! People care and want to be supportive. You can feel the love and the prayer! Wow, that's a HUGE blessing!

    I was very touched by my neighbor's love and support. They celebrated each step of the way whether it be with flowers, wine and of, course, ongoing friendship. The best.

    I took a trip to my favorite place, London, with my closest friends to celebrate completing treatment. Everyone should do something to celebrate. You deserve it!

    You should also celebrate life every day and count your blessings. Breast cancer has made me a better person.

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    Side Effects: As noted in other sectkions - hot flashes, calcium depletion, joint pain, burned skin, and fatigue. I was able to manage all of these, continue work and I consider myself blessed.