Breast Cancer Survivor Blog Series: Challenges of Cancer Treatment

Writer, business woman, passionate traveler, and breast cancer survivor, Melanie Young is an advocate for the empowerment of women through education, peer support and mentoring… and now she’s offering her words of wisdom to Paula Young customers via a 10-part blog series.

This Q&A interview-style blogs series offers insight on Melanie, her book – Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide To Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer – and her battle with breast cancer.

I hope you enjoy the fourth installment of this series which touches upon common challenges faced during cancer treatment.

PAULA: What were your biggest challenges during treatment?

MELANIE: Like many cancer patients, the emotional impact of the diagnosis was simply devastating – like a sharp punch in the chest. On top of that my father was put in hospice for advanced prostate cancer shortly after my diagnosis. He died after my second surgery and before I started treatment. I was extremely close to him, and he was also my company’s C.P.A., so we were tied together in business as well. Losing him and not being able to take the time to mourn or deal with the fallout from his death was very hard.

I also chose to keep my diagnosis quiet in my professional arena. I was afraid my clients would walk away, and I would lose my business and face financial ruin. It was like living two lives: business professional by day; cancer patient at rest by night.

Finally, no one really explained “chemo brain” to me and how it plays with your head. By the end of the day it was hard to remember words or focus on anything. My head felt like it was sliced in two and put back on off kilter. I address this fully in my book. Many women are impacted by chemo brain for years studies have shown.

PAULA: How did you handle chemo brain?

MELANIE: I played word games, like Scrabble. I prioritized activities to tackle more demanding ones in the morning after my workout when my mind was sharper. And when the chemo brain kicked in hard, I turned off the electronics and tuned into music. Or I would take a walk or hit the reclining stationary bike. I also cleaned out closets and drawers; organizing and tossing out clutter was soothing.

For more about Melanie or to order her book, please visit

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