LITCHFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- When someone is diagnosed with Breast cancer, there is a lot to take in, from the prognosis, to treatment options, to the variety of prescription drugs to take.
Taking care of your mental and emotional health can be just as important as treating the cancer, especially in those first overwhelming weeks and months.
Debra Annese has always been diligent about her health. But about a month ago she learned something had been overlooked.
"I kind of consider myself, what I tell everyone, is every woman's worst nightmare," Annese said. "Because I'm very healthy, I eat right, I exercise, I go to all my appointments, I go to the doctor's I have my mammograms and have my yearly physicals and I would never have expected that I would be sitting here with breast cancer."
With the diagnosis came an aggressive treatment plan: A bilateral mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. Annese was overwhelmed by the amount of information she was receiving and all of the decisions she had to make. With every doctor's appointment came questions from family and friends. It quickly became exhausting to tell the stories one at a time. Annese remembered reading about a website called Caring Bridge that allows people with cancer to keep a journal about their experiences. It seemed like the perfect solution. Her friends and family get email updates whenever she shares new information in her online journal.
Annese found that Caring Bridge was much more than a tool to update loved ones. She turned to her blog to document her battle with breast cancer, and to share the emotions that come with it. She also realized how helpful she could be to others.
"If I can write one thing that's going to help one person, if anybody can read anything that i've put on paper or in a journal that's going to help them feel better, or learn something that they didn't know, or one person to be able to stand in the mirror and say, 'You know what I have to look at myself and check myself because you can't always leave it for other people to do,' that is the absolute most important thing."
Her story has been met with feedback that is helping her through the fight.
"It's incredible the amount of support you get back from people, and when people read and they want to share in your journey with you it's, there's nothing like it."
You can find a link to Caring Bridge by clicking here.