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Moving on, life in post-cancer treatment

Breast cancer survivors continue with healing
Posted: 8:11 AM, Aug 23, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-23 15:04:21Z

More than 40,000 women in the U.S. are expected to die this year from breast cancer, though death rates have gone down since 1989, according to researchers.

In light of this statistic, there is a growing number of women surviving it. Life in post-treatment can be complex, according to Tisa Hardin-Partridge.

"We focused very much on the cancer when I was diagnosed," said the 55-year-old.  

But afterward, the Omahan said guidance and direction stopped once she completed her treatments.

"It's like, 'Now, I'm a different person. How do I not get breast cancer again? And how do I stay healthy in general?'"

Her case - not completely isolated.

It used to be a very paternalistic system, according to Dr. Edibaldo Silva with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 

The doctor would say, 'Here's what you got. Here's what you get -  you get it and you're done and don't come back to see me until tomorrow,' he said.

But the healing process must continue, he added.

"The most valuable resource [is] patients who've gone through it already," said Silva.

Hardin-Partridge said she realized she needed the support of other breast cancer survivors. For awhile she joined a group but felt it neither tackled how to stay healthy nor make better lifestyle choices.

In 2017, she created her own support group called Pink Lotus Project.

Member Elaine Hollingworth said it's far from a pity party, but instead space to talk about life in post-treatment, the various treatments available while also navigating through feelings of survivor's guilt, emotions and finding a new normal.

The group takes on a holistic approach by not addressing just the cancer, but the total person, Hardin-Partridge said.

Still in its infancy, it hopes to one day be located inside a house with rooms for meditation, cooking demonstrations and working out.

"We're just learning together how to be the healthiest person we can be: mind, body and soul and that covers all areas -  nutrition, working out, therapy and 101 information we can give each other," she said.

The group meets every third Saturday of the month at 3208 Corby Street from 12 to 2 p.m.

Additional support groups in the Omaha metro are also found through  CHI Health , Methodist Health System , Nebraska Medicine  and Susan G. Komen for the Cure