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Thriving After Triple-Negative Breast Cancer - Stories of Survival, Resilience, and Hope

Triple negative breast cancer can stop you in your tracks the moment a doctor diagnosis you; however, once you have your diagnosis, you need to focus on getting better.

One of the most important items in your toolbox will be hope. This e-book shares information about the power of hope and stories of hope and healing from women who have been in the same position as you. You will get through this, and hope will be a driving factor.

Join our free event celebrating Breast Cancer Survivors at the Atlanta Botanical Garden! Saturday, August 26th!

The Power of Hope in Breast Cancer Survival

Numerous studies show that hope is a guiding factor for those diagnosed with cancer. In fact, Stanford Medicine recently posted an article saying, “Hope keeps one alive to fight for another day, a month, a year, and a return to better health. It affords another opportunity to therapy and to live.”

Because of the association with hope, many nurses are now advised to see how hopeful their patients are as well as try to bolster the feeling. One study on hope concluded, “Self-esteem and helpfulness of religious beliefs influence women's appraisals regarding the potential for coping; appraisals and antecedent variables relevant for differentiating hope are beliefs about the potential for coping, self-esteem, and social support.” Furthermore, it found that nurses “should include assessment of beliefs regarding the potential for coping. Results suggest that support for interventions related to self-esteem, social support, and helpfulness of religious beliefs increase confidence in coping abilities and hope.”

The power of hope cannot be ignored. Cancer patients who use the six strategies of hope are found to be more positive, and that positivity may make their recovery process more successful. The six strategies for facilitating hope are:

  • Building and sustaining meaningful relationships – By keeping your friends and family in the loop and sharing your hopes and dreams with them, you will be able to obtain their emotional support.

  • Staying positive – We know it can feel impossible to stay positive after a diagnosis and during treatment. It’s okay and normal to feel depressed on certain days. However, by taking an overall positive tone, you’ll be able to cope much better with the process.

  • Living in the present – Hope allows you to enjoy each day more fully. By enjoying what you’re doing each day, you’ll be better able to feel more hopeful about the future.

  • Promoting accomplishments – A more positive outlook will allow you to enjoy your accomplishments. This will make you more likely to share them with your friends and family, inspiring more hope amongst you and your loved ones.

  • Feeling a spiritual connection – If you believe in a higher power, hope can make you feel closer to your spirituality. You may feel hopeful about your future in your religion or take comfort in your religion.

  • Survival – The main goal of hope for most cancer patients is survival. By moving forward with this hope, you are more likely to look forward to what the future holds as well as the outcome of different treatment options.

Stories of Hope

Talking about hope may feel like something you’ve hear repeatedly. Far too often, we see stories that require women to “just have hope.” This is easier said then done. Many women may find their hope dwindeling, especially once they start to see the effects of their treatment. We’ve gathered some of the best stories from around the web to show how powerful having hope can be.

“As African American women, I want to encourage you to invest in your health and wellness.”

Sharon Sanford was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer at 50. She was surprised by the diagnosis as breast cancer did not run in her family. Within two weeks she was visiting the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center for treatment. She was in treatment for the next 16 months. However, because of the compassionate care she received, as well as support from family and her prayer group, Sharon found she was able to make it through her treatment as well as begin to help others who were going through the same thing. She recommends that women get their yearly mammograms to catch cancer early should it come up and recommends African American women “invest in ourselves mentally, physically emotionally and spiritually.”

“Given my family history, I knew I was at very high risk for developing breast cancer.”

Melanie Nix had a family history (her grandmother, mother and three aunts had all been diagnosed with the disease) of breast cancer but delayed getting tested due to caring for two young children. Her gynecologist recommended that she get regularly screened due to her familial history. In 2008, she received a diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer. She successfully beat the disease and has a friend who also overcame triple-negative as well. She works for various advocacy and support groups to help other women in her position.

“If I wanted to take cancer head on, I needed to change my attitude from defeat to a positive approach, so I decided to remain myself.”

Salyndria Gregory was a mother to a one-year-old when she received the news that she’d been diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. At first, she was understandably devastated. However, she knew if there was any hope for succeeding, she needed to take the time to refocus on herself and move forward with a positive attitude. She gathered up her strength, and combined with a deep love for God, began to focus on healing. She soon found she had a new zest for life and eventually defeated cancer.

Tips From Survivors

Survivors all have recurring topics that they say helped them get through their cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The most common ones we see are:

  • Positivity – Rather than wallowing in pity and sorrow, most survivors all discuss a changing point where they become optimistic about their situation. They begin to take the time to learn more about their treatment options, meet with their physicians and look forward to the future. Although each day can bring a different feeling, it’s integral people with triple-negative breast cancer take the time to find the positive aspects of life.

  • Get Help – There’s a definite stigma around therapy, but there’s no sense in turning down something that may save your life. You are dealing with an assortment of emotions, and therapy can help you sort yourself out. You’ll also be able to see what you have in life to be hopeful about and can take a more positive outlook on life.

  • Prioritize Self-Care – Cancer frequently makes us look at the big picture, and you might not like what you see. From negative spouses to jobs that bring us down, cancer makes us take a cold, hard look at what matters and what’s harming us. To ensure you have the most positive experience and can hold onto hope for the future, look to see what aspects of your life you can clean up.

Finding Strength through Community Support

Getting a triple-negative breast cancer diagnosis may feel like the end of the world, but with hope, you’ll be able to conquer each day.

This is where we can help.

SisterLove has a dedicated team dedicated to breast cancer awareness and helping survivors and fighters alike through each stage of the treatment and recovery process. Check out our Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Toolkit for tips on how to find free mammograms near you, guides for performing self-breast exams, and other info related to beating breast cancer.

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