When you have a diagnosis of breast cancer, every well intention-ed person in your life will give you advice. It turns out I am no different, here is my advice: if you have no strong opinion about not following the advice and it cannot hurt you or interfere with your prognosis, follow it for as long as you feel like it.
What’s the harm?
A wonderful friend sent Essiac tea to me along with a book. I had time on my hands, so I read the book while drinking the tea. I drank the tea for the duration of my treatment. It made me feel close to her and like I was doing something to help myself, a sense of empowerment. Stopping drinking the tea was also a sense of completion, something formal I could do that signified the end. It was powerful.
There is not a lot about a breast cancer diagnosis that is empowering or makes you feel powerful in any way. To me, it felt like a runaway train and you have no choice but to stay on it, with your arms and legs inside, until it comes to a complete stop. Following someone else’s advice may seem contrary to feeling powerful, but it is your choice, you are doing it because you want to do something to help yourself. There is a side benefit of allowing someone else who feels powerless because of your diagnosis to know that they did something for you.
Now, making Essiac tea is a bit of a chore, it requires distilled water and to steep overnight, and a significant time commitment to filter it–oh, and there is a bit of a smell that accompanies it, so be prepared for that. It doesn’t really taste all that pleasant, but if you have ever taken a shot of bottom shelf alcohol and kissed a smoker, you are going to be ok. I drank it before I brushed my teeth both in the morning and before bed, that helped a lot!
Take a moment to honor those who took the time to offer some advice to you, know that they are doing so from a place of love and concern and that they, too, feel powerless and want to do something to help. If you truly cannot follow it for any reason, seriously–any reason will do, ask them for something specific. Specific like a meal on Thursday, take you to an appointment, vacuum the cat hair off your rug, edge your lawn, hold your hand while watching Netflix, send pretty/festive scarves, have a sleepover for your kids, freeze water bottles. Whatever you can think of, its a good feeling for everyone, truly. Especially if there is no harm! That is the end of this piece of advice!