top of page
  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

Being Your Own Advocate

By Traci

I’m currently in the radiation phase of my treatment for stage 3 breast cancer. The technician, "let’s call him Rick because that’s his name," was not friendly and curt in his manner. I was 4 weeks in, with 2 weeks to go, and had been having a hard time. My type of radiation requires me to hold my breath while treatment is being administered. I’m not very good at this as a rule and especially under pressure.


The other day, Rick decides he is going to give me a lecture on holding my breath and how that is making it hard for him to do what “he” needs to do. He went on and on while I stood there with no shirt on (I still have one breast) and feeling quite uncomfortable. I was shocked and didn’t react. I left there with tears forcing their way out and tried to make it to the hospital parking lot before I broke down.


This was hard enough and him being impatient with me on a regular basis was making it even more difficult.


My first thought was, I’ll tell the Doctor I’ve had enough of him. Then, I decided to calm down and think on it. So I did.


I’ve changed through this cancer journey and have become more patient and understanding. I promised myself this journey would make me better, not bitter. I talked with a dear friend and she suggested I talk to Rick about it. That is not what I originally had in mind. I was thinking I would just say nothing and after two more weeks, never see him again. The last thing I wanted right now was to confront someone who I would have to see 10 more mornings.


Then, I gave it more thought and decided to have a heartfelt conversation with him. When I went in the next day, I asked Rick, “Can we talk a minute please?” He looked hesitant as he had no idea where I was going with this. I said I’m sorry that I can’t hold my breath properly. It’s hard enough to come in here as I don’t feel well, plus it gives me anxiety and makes it hard for me to hold my breath. I’m not trying to make your job harder, and I’m doing my best. Then the tears came.


He looked me in the eyes, and said Traci I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel that way. I was just trying to explain how things worked. I responded, “I need you to be gentler and more patient with me. I’ve been in treatment for a year now, and it’s hard." I could tell he felt badly.


Surprisingly, the session went smoothly and he was quite pleasant, unlike the technician I was used to dealing with. The next day, I went back in and he was kind and gentle, patiently walking me through the treatment. Better still, I also noticed that he was warmer to the patients in front and behind me.


In retrospect, I think Rick had just lost his way at work and wasn’t seeing us as people anymore. This “new” technician I’m finishing up my radiation with is a completely different one. I’m so glad I had the courage to talk to him and be my own advocate. I’ve learned it’s terribly important to speak up for yourself as the staff administering my care sometimes forgets we are a person and not a number.



Thank you for sharing your story, Traci. SBC loves you!


SurvivingBreastCancer.org Resources & Support:

Comments


Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 

RSVP

Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages Support Group

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

 

Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

 

Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group

Second Thursday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

The Caregiver Huddle

Third Tuesday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Grupo de Apoyo en Español

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET

RSVP​

Encourage and Empower

For Newly Diagnosed

September 10, 11:00 a.m. ET

RSVP

Breast Cancer Book Club

The first Sunday of the month

RSVP

Pilates

July 19,  10:00 a.m. ET

RSVP

Restorative Yoga:

Unearthing Opportunities

July 15 ,  5:30 p.m. ET

RSVP

Reflect & Recharge

Expressive Writing

July 22,  6:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Art Therapy

August 5, 6:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Yoga Fitness with Chair Assist

August 13, 11:30 a.m. ET

RSVP

Forest Bathing

August 13,  6:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

August 20,  6:00 p.m. ET

RSVP

Más eventos en español

RSVP

Upcoming Events

1

Surviving Breast Cancer provides breast cancer support, events, and webinars at no cost to you! Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge on a particular topic or meet up with other breast cancer survivors, we have something for everyone. 

2

Our standing appointment on Thursdays is for all stages. We also host specific breakout groups once a month for specific stages and subtypes such as Metastatic breast cancer, and Inflammatory Breast Cancer, etc. 

3

The Book Club meets the first Sunday of every month at 11 am ET. You are welcome to join each month or pick and choose your month based on your availability and the book we are reading. 

4

Through art, writing, and other creative modalities, we hold the power to manage our stress, make sense of our now, and relax into moments of stillness. 

5

Free, monthly, online classes in restorative yoga, yoga for breast cancer, and Zumba. 

6

Después de un Diagnóstico

bottom of page