The 2020 holidays have been and will continue to be difficult for all of us. Not being able to travel, see our loved ones, or do many of our favorite traditions is going to be strange. While it might be hard, it might be incredibly beneficial for everyone going through and living with a cancer diagnosis.
Hello, warriors, friends, and dear readers! We know the holiday season can be incredibly difficult for you and for many reasons. While going through your cancer treatments you begin to ask those dark lurking questions; how will this affect my family? How long do I have left? Am I going to beat this? When the holidays come around, these questions tend to get a little darker; what will the holidays be like after I'm gone? Is this my last Christmas? How many more holidays do I have left? While we will try to do everything we can to help comfort and support you on this difficult journey, we also know that sometimes even the most comforting words and actions can't touch those dark places and dark thoughts. However, that doesn't mean we are going to stop our positivity and hope that we want to share with you anytime soon. This blog is going to be a few different things; something to help cheer you up, give you some hope, provide some insight to your loved ones and our readers, and to give everyone a little perspective. We've now all heard it one too many times, that this year is going to be different from all the rest. Through all the difficulties this year has given us, and the fact that this will be hard to spend the holidays apart, this might be something good for all of our warriors going through their treatments, diagnosis, and those living in their survivorship.
The holidays without cancer are already hard difficult; you're constantly running around, shopping, worrying about seeing everyone, making plans, cooking, attending all the holiday events, and trying to make everyone happy. The holidays with cancer are even more difficult. Its all of your normal holiday stress combined with always being tired, feeling sick, having to say no to things and dealing with the guilt that comes with that, being sick, not being able to taste or eat your favorite foods, not being able to participate in your favorite activities, and more. It's a lot, and when your family and friends outside of your close and supportive care group and team don't quite understand this, it makes it even more difficult. We don't need to go into any more detail, because you already understand this. You're living this right now and you've been going through it ever since you were diagnosed. However, this year might be a little different
A Holiday To Pause
For the past nine months our lives, what's safe, and how we are living has all changed. For our warriors and those in survivorship and remission, you've had to be extra safe, as have your immediate members of your bubble and everyone who lives with you. You are making even fewer trips outside of your house, you could be working from home, seeing a very limited amount of people, you may have been going into doctors appointments and treatments alone, faced canceled and rescheduled doctors appointments, spent a lot of time on Zoom, and more. Now that the holidays are here and the pandemic numbers haven't improved but have instead continued to grow, everyone is starting to see changes. Our favorite Christmas gatherings have been canceled or made virtual, large gatherings are still not recommended, traveling is still not recommended, and it is still recommended that you limit your exposure and stay home as much as possible. While this is devastating for so many, this is something that needs to be observed by our warriors and their families.
While choosing to be healthy and staying healthy, you are also protecting others by limiting your exposure. You can take the opportunity of not being able to gather and travel this year to rest and enjoy the holidays how you choose instead of stressing yourself out. You can slow down and create new traditions with your loved ones inside your bubble and create unique ones with all the family you'll be seeing virtually this year. If your treatments are difficult over the holidays and you're sick, feeling ill, or are exhausted you don't have to make up any excuses or feel bad about not being able to attend a holiday function. As difficult as the holidays are, as difficult as this year has been, take this time to rest, recover, fight, heal, and keep yourself safe while the world is on pause. We do urge you to remember this: please understand to be even more conscious for our warriors who don't have the immune system or strength to battle off what we are all trying to fight off and avoid. Remember, they are already fighting a battle. Don't give them another one to fight.
To our dear care teams and family members who make up the family bubbles for all of our warriors, we know this time of year is difficult for you as well, and that 2020 has not made that any easier. Please continue to be safe and to practice all of your safety measures because this isn't just for you. You're doing all of this and being safe for them and everyone else you see this holiday season. Even if it is difficult to say no and you choose to celebrate safely this year, that is the best gift you can give to everyone. With that on your mind, we also wanted to share a few more ideas on how to help your loved ones going through this holiday. We also wanted to share some ideas and tips for our warriors to remember, too!
We know this time of year is difficult. We know this blog might come off a little strangely, but we are searching for and highlighting all the silver linings that we can find. We are here for you, fighting for you, and very much in this boat with you this holiday season. If anything, please remember these things when walking away from the blog today:
Through the difficulties of this year, your battle with breast cancer and remission, the holidays, the pandemic, and everything in between, we are here. We are here to help comfort, help with your healing, and help you feel better in as many ways as possible. Keep searing for your silver linings and let's carry them into the new year!
The Mysteries of Breast Pain
Sometimes your breasts can ache or hurt, and the cause behind them can be a multitude of strange and unknown reasons. We will be exploring all of this today!
Hello, warriors! Today we are going to be talking about breast pain. While we are on high alert to breast abnormalities and lumps that appear in the breast sometimes overnight, not all breast pain is caused by or linked to breast cancer. It is of course, very important to stay very aware of this pain, and if it continues. As we've mentioned before, any changes to your breasts need to be brought to your doctor's attention right away. They could be an early sign of something potentially very dangerous or something that has no explanation at all. Breast pain, technically called "mastodynia", often has no known cause. Your breast tissue is affected by many things like your hormones, your stress, infection, or illnesses elsewhere in the body, and your caffeine intake. Breast pain can be intermittent, sharp and shooting, dull and constant, or a burning sensation. While breast pain isn't necessarily a sign of breast cancer, it is a sign that something abnormal is going on.
Breast pain can be sharp, dull, constant, or intermittent. Breast pain can have a multitude of causes including but not limited to stress, caffeine intake, hormone imbalances, musculoskeletal trigger points, and abnormal changes to the breast tissue. There are several ways to investigate causes like lab work and imaging. If you are experiencing breast pain, contact us for a consultation to discuss potential causes and treatment options, and to have a clinical breast exam with a licensed provider. Here at TBP, a clinical breast exam, imaging, and lab work are often tools we use to find out what's causing that pain and what you can do to alleviate it. If you are experiencing breast pain, we are happy to see you in the office for an exam and work up. Today we are going to be expanding on what breast pain could and could not be, and diving more into mastodynia.
First and foremost, breast pain is common and something many women go through. It can be a consistent pain or it can only happen occasionally. One of the most common occurrences of breast pain is in the few days leading up to your period. This is a normal occurrence and this mild or moderate pain can appear in both breasts. According to Healthline, the fluctuating hormone levels that appear in your body during and leading up to your period are what's to blame. Your breasts can feel tender and even swell during these times. You will have a spike in your estrogen and progesterone production levels during your cycle. Estrogen will cause you breast ducts to enlarge and progesterone production will cause the milk glands to swell. Both of these reactions will cause soreness in your breasts. The pain can be felt throughout the month too, and have no connection to your period.
Breast pain can also occur during menopause. During the twelve months leading up to menopause, a woman is in a transitioning period called perimenopause. During perimenopause, your levels of estrogen and progesterone fluctuate. Although, these fluctuations are much more dramatic during perimenopause compared to your menstrual cycle, according to Medical News Today. The dull and sore ache that comes from the side effects of these fluctuations can escalate to more of a burning or throbbing. Once you do officially reach menopause, the pain should be finished, but your risk of breast cancer does increase. If you are experiencing strange pains, your doctor needs to be alerted right away.
Reasons Behind The Pain
There are also many other reasons why your breasts could be hurting.
Since breast pain is so common and is something many women will have to deal with, what are some ways to deal with the pain? Some of the best management steps are all linked to self-care.
Breast pain can be scary if you don't know what's going on. We hope this blog sheds some light on what you're going through, and we hope it calmed your nerves. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns please feel free to reach out. Be well out there, we know that you're fighting hard. You are not alone in this, and you never will be!