Katrina Mellerson first noticed a lump on her right breast back in 2005. She said “ I had just got home from work and was about to take a shower when I noticed a lump on my right breast. It felt like a rock.” Mellerson stated that she then had her first biopsy done where doctors stuck a needle into her breast to pull out fluid. She had what she called a lumpectomy.
Years went by and it wasn’t until 2008 when she felt a lump again. Katrina said “ Everything was good until 2008”. This time, she saw a different doctor at New York Hospital. This particular doctor told her that her previous lump was cancerous and that the current lump was too. Katrina was very upset because she was told something different from before. “I was diagnosed with cancer.” She said that if she had known then that it was cancerous she would have started treatment then instead of waiting. “I could have done treatment then instead of waiting”.
Mellerson stated that at her second doctor’s appointment she had to get the lump removed. She said, “I was given the choice to remove my right boob or get a mastectomy.” Removing her boob, she said, would have made her feel like she was less of a woman. She decided to get the mastectomy and keep her boob.
“I was distraught and not prepared at all for this news”
After the lump removal, Katrina began treatment at Trident Hospital in Charleston South Carolina. Treatment began on April 28, 2009 and lasted until June 6, 2010. During treatment, Mellerson said that most of her stress came from her non-supportive mother, how her diagnosis affected her daughter Jasmine, her four hour-long treatment sessions and this medicine called The Red Devil.
She said that her mother wouldn’t attend doctor appointments regularly or help out with her daughter after her treatment sessions. She said, “I would be very tired and sleepy after treatment when I got home and my mother would ask me to get up out the bed and feed my daughter.” Katrina stated that she moved back to South Carolina from New York after being diagnosed with cancer so that she could get some help, but that it didn’t turn out that way. She said most days after treatment she even had to drive herself home.
During treatment, Jasmine started to act out but never admitted that she didn’t like or want to see her mom battling with cancer. The four-hour treatment sessions were once a week in the beginning, but eventually slowed up to once every two weeks. She said it was the Benadryl they gave her during treatments that always knocked her out.
The Red Devil, according to Katrina, was an all red medication that caused her hair and eyebrows to fall out. She said, “I ran from treatment for four months because I wasn’t ready for the transition.”
When asked to describe how she felt in two words about her overall situation she said “ Why me?”
When asked how she overcame cancer mentally she talked about her goals and receiving encouragement. Mellerson said that her main goal was to complete treatment so she could get back to her normal life. Focusing on what her outcome would be is what she said helped her to stay focus and maintain. She said, “I had to complete treatment because I wanted my hair and eyebrows to grow back. I was ready to get back to doing me.”
She also stated that family members would often encourage her and that the encouragement was a big help along her journey to recovery.
Tambre Leighn, a cancer survivorship coach expert has a Twitter account that she uses to encourage cancer patients and survivors. In a recent post she said, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you how your story ends.”
— Tambre Leighn (@tambreleighn) June 3, 2016
In another post she asked, “How effective is a lecture from your doctor?” In that post she links an article titled “A better way” and asked her viewers to check out her comment about the article because she believes that there is a better approach to lecturing cancer patients.
Eight Mental Tips for Coping With Cancer Treatment is an article that Eric Ryals posted to his LinkedIn account. He applied his athletic mindset to his battle against cancer and shared how he mentally overcame cancer in hopes of helping someone else face any extreme physical, mental and spiritual challenge. His eight tips are:
- Mind Over Matter
- Stay In the Present Tense
- Annihilate Self-Doubt: You Will Prevail
- Personify Adversity: Conquer the “Beast”
- Embrace the Love and Good Will of Others
- You Call This Pain? This Is Relatively Nothing
- Laughing and Crying Is the Same Release
- Happiness Is A Decision.
The American Cancer Society posted an image of a Facebook emoji on May 25, 2016 to their Facebook page asking all individuals to post in the comments all emoji reactions that describe how they are feeling along their cancer journey. The American Cancer Society stated, “ Your cancer journey can bring out many emotions- how are you feeling today? Use Facebook emoji reactions to tell us how you’re feeling today-we’re all in this together”.
The link to the Facebook post is provided below.
There are many ways to overcome cancer mentally. Check out the Cancer Survivorship Talk audio below.
From The Author
There are many ways to overcome cancer mentally. Find what helps you live freely. You’ve already won the fight by trying!