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Top 25 things I wish people would have told me...

1. We cry, we all have cried, but we laugh too!

2. With new treatments, you are not sick all of the time!  You can work and carry on a normal life—you just have to rest more. 

3. Listen to your body.  When you’re tired, stop and rest.  When you are feeling okay, follow your usual routine.  It will make the time pass faster and make you healthier both physically and mentally.

4. Eat several small meals a day. It keeps your strength up and manages nausea, if you have any. 

5. Keep a journal of daily visits, meals brought by, gifts, card, etc. Also write down how you are feeling. It becomes your story, and it is good to look back on your journey.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  People are willing to offer, but often don’t know how to approach you. 

7. When people offer to help, believe them.  They get as much from helping you as you do.  It fills two buckets at the same time!

8. So many “angels” come into your life—and they come in many ways.

9. Have someone accompany you to all your appointments. It is hard to hear/understand/think about everything the doctor is saying when you have so many things going through your mind.Four ears are always better than two!

10. It's okay to be proactive and ask questions about your treatment and your doctors.

11. Keep a list of questions as you think of them between treatments so you can ask the doctor at your next appointment.

12. If you are sick or hurting, don't suffer in silence...tell your doctors.

13. It's okay—and kind of nice—to not wear a wig if you’re not comfortable with it.  You look glamorous with your hats and scarves, and cute with your bald head!

14. You will learn that the hair on your head is there for more than looks – it helps your body retain heat.  You will probably want to wear a turban to keep your head warm at night and on colder days.

15. If you are having chemo and expect to lose your hair, cut it short. It is fun to have a new hair style, and it makes it easier when you start losing hair.

16. You can get a fringe of hair that looks like hair under hats and scarves without having to wear a full wig.

17. Putting baby powder on your head before putting on your wig makes it more comfortable and absorbs some of the moisture.

18. Buying the wig early helps match color/style to real hair. or If you want to, get a wig that is very different than your hair.  It’s your opportunity to try new things!

19. If you acquire your wig before your hair has fallen out, keep in mind that it will not fit as tightly without hair.  Ask if you can return to have it sized later.

20. Get your wig trimmed by your hairstylist or someone with experience with wigs.

21. You can get a free wig and other supplies at the local American Cancer Society office.

22. Not having hair during the treatments allows more time to relax and take care of yourself. Think how much time you save without having to fix your hair!

23. If you are having reconstruction and nipple/areola tattooing, take a picture of your breasts before surgery.  That will help you see colors better when you do the tattooing.

24. Contact the American Cancer Society—the resources are amazing!  Call or e-mail any member of Pink Alliance—we are here to help.

25. Talk about your diagnosis. You may save another life.

© Pink Alliance 2012