Animals and Illness – Hormone Replacement Therapy, Mastectomy Reflection

Dear fellow traveler! Hope this week has treated you well.

Over the last few months, our household has been having an ongoing discussion about the pros and cons of having a pet. Also, we’re wondering what kind of animal would be best for our lifestyles. Since pets come in all kinds of shapes and breeds, we began to consider size, activity level, and maintenance. We live in an apartment and are all busy busy, including my boys. They are often on the road for their baseball activities, so the pet and I will probably become best buddies! Having grown up on a farm, I know that having an animal around would rekindle some happy memories for me. Eventually, after lots of thinking and talking, we decided to start off with a cat, a calm breed who loves cuddling but can also be alone. The Dutch word for milk is melk and we’re fans of this MLB baseball player. Hence, the cat’s name will be Melky. Our pet-to-be is now a few weeks old and will come to us in December. We are all so excited! 

Pets can play a significant role in the lives of human beings (and hopefully vice versa)! Animals may improve the quality, and even quantity, of life! Dog ownership has recently been associated with better (heart) health (likely due to dog walks)! Furthermore, pets may distract and soothe us, allow us to release and process our feelings, and remind us of the fragility of nature and life. They can function as role models in terms of resilience, gracefulness, and self-care. Pets often love to receive and give affection in an unconditional and nonverbal manner.

More than that…..pets play a meaningful role in society:

  • Service animals are trained to support their disabled owners.
  • Emotional support animals provide therapeutic benefits to those with emotional difficulties.
  • Therapy dogs do not have the legal access rights that the above mentioned animals do, but they provide great comfort to people suffering in medical facilities and nursing homes. In fact, training your dog as a therapy dog is a fulfilling way to give back to your community.

Whether you decide to get your own pet or spend more time with someone else’s, please check with your healthcare provider about which kind may be best for you. You and your loved ones may have sensitivities or allergies. In addition, your previous or current cancer therapies may increase your risk of acquiring an illness from your pet.

Continue to be kind to yourself and others! Thank you for visiting me. Below I’ve included a few things to educate and entertain you. Follow me on social media for ‘extra treats’ (@CancerSurvivorMD on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter)!  

Learn and Think:

For those of you who are going through the change of life prematurely, perhaps as a result of cancer therapies, please find here the results of a recent major study that provides updated guidance on hormone replacement therapy. Being educated on this topic can help you talk with your healthcare provider.

Live and Feel:

A survivor’s reflection on her mastectomy.

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