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Drinking from the fire hydrant

The internet is an incredible and powerful tool but it can also be a completely scary, R-rated, I should never have seen/read/or heard that but now it’s forever imprinted in my brain kind of place. That most definitely holds true when it comes to researching breast cancer, or any medical ailment for that matter, online.

Breast cancer initially left me feeling powerless and I wanted to take back some of that power by arming myself with knowledge, so I went in search of information. I wanted to learn all I could about my disease, how I got it, the various stages I could be (at the time we didn’t know), survival rates, my treatment options, and how other women got through it. I was not prepared for how much was out there! I found that a lot of what I was reading was super negative and alarming. And, as someone newly diagnosed, I focused on, of course, the WORST scenarios out there

I. WAS. TERRIFIED.

What I eventually came to realize is that just because it’s written doesn’t mean it would happen to me. While that might be obvious on paper, the dark rabbit holes you follow when your mind is in a state of panic can lead you down some scary what-if paths. Everyone’s breast cancer experience is different, including mine.

I found that if I had a question or wanted to know something specific, I needed to resist the urge to google all the possibilities and focus on just what I knew. In addition to helping me maintain my sanity, this allowed me to bring targeted and relevant questions to my doctors.

It is normal human behavior to immediately want to find out everything there is to know about something when you find out you suddenly have it. It is also normal human behavior to want to crawl under a rock and hide from it all. At any given point in the process you may find yourself anywhere along this spectrum and that’s ok. Just remember, give drinking from the fire hydrant a break once in awhile.

September 09, 2017 by Stephanie Nichols