What to Do When You’ve Been Diagnosed with Cancer

A few weeks ago, I drove to Oak Park, Illinois to interview Brooke Long, a two time cancer survivor currently living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. She opened the door with a smile, a vibrant woman in a soft white sweater, barefoot and fresh-faced. As time unfolded, she took us on a tour of her (insanely beautiful) home and brought us steaming cups of coffee in squat mugs.

We settled on the couch in her living room, the sun streaming in and film equipment scattered about. A tiny dog snoozed quietly on her lap and creased sheets of paper tucked next to her: notes on everything she wanted to say. What was apparent from the first was her animation with the subject — her intense desire to communicate realness, honesty, the authenticity of her experience. No platitudes or ambiguity. Simply the rawness of a life-altering diagnosis and her fight — for information, for strategies, for an A-team surrounding her. An unfiltered glimpse into her journey toward holistic healing.

1 out of every 8 women (in the U.S.) will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Chances are good that you know someone with breast cancer or are facing a diagnosis yourself. It’s an intensely personal and challenging subject with no clear cut guidelines. There is no one way to approach cancer. Instead, Brooke’s insight into her own experience — including living, treating, and persevering with stage 4 MBS in the long-term — provides commiseration, understanding, a friend reaching out to ask, “How are you feeling today? How can I help you?” Watch her full interview below and find her on Instagram at @brooke_long.

 

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. At The Everygirl, we’re committed to sharing women’s stories and learning from those who have faced cancer in their lifetime. Looking to learn more? Read our article on what five women want you to know about cancer or find tips on performing a breast self-exam here. If you’d like to donate, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a great place to start.