Georgia's Online Cancer Information Center

Amelia Gambino: I learned alot from being a caregiver first

Before my first cancer diagnosis, my mother, my mother-in-law, and my best friend had breast cancer, not to mention friends and co-workers with a variety of cancer diagnoses. I had been an advocate for several of them…going with them to doctor’s appointments, taking notes, shuttling them to and from treatment, researching medications on-line, and asking questions of nurses and doctors that my loved ones couldn’t think to ask. I learned a lot from those strong women. What I learned helped me get through my own battles with cancer. Here's a snapshot:

Be smart. Be an active participant in your treatment decisions. Ask questions and make sure you understand your unique situation.

Be honest. Tell your doctors how you feel and what you need. Never assume they know and don’t be intimidated by them. The same goes for your friends and family.

Make yourself the priority. Your body will tell you what it needs. Do it. (My oncologist told me that I had spent my life using my brain and thinking my way through problems. Now it was time to listen to my body and do what it told me to do.)

Accept help.  No matter how strong and independent you are, you will need help at times. 

Keep going. Every day is a challenge. Just keep moving forward. You’ll survive.

Hopefully these crucial tips will help you, too.


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