1. JUST DIAGNOSED
Why is this happening?
Accepting that things happen beyond our control is incredibly difficult in this age of technology and perceived stability, but it is this very acceptance that will enable you to face the coming treatment. Rather than trying to find reason or meaning behind your cancer, simply accepting it is the first step towards defeating it. Adopt a positive attitude, and remind yourself daily that yes, this has happened to you—but you aren’t going to allow it to control your life.
How can I cope?
When going through treatment, your experience might involve physical discomfort. During this phase, you will need to be at your strongest, both physically and emotionally. Preparing yourself through proper diet, exercise and mental/emotional work can go a long way towards improving your prognosis.
Emotions and cancer
There are two common pitfalls when it comes to painful emotional experience, and both should be avoided. Some people allow their fears, anger and sadness control them, setting them on a downward spiral into depression or other chronic mental difficulties. It is necessary to transcend these emotions, and not allow them to control our lives. However, you don’t want to swing to the other extreme and deny your emotions. It has been said that any emotions that are ignored or bottled up end up festering inside of us, below the surface on a subconscious level, poisoning our spirits and manifesting in any number of future issues. Rather than denying your emotions, accept them as a natural part of the human experience. To be human is to be emotional, and few things bring out our emotions like cancer. Embrace them, but don’t allow them to control you.
Talking about cancer
It is important to realize that one of the best ways to deal with what you are going through is to talk about it. This doesn’t mean that you have to talk to everyone about your diagnosis, or that you have to talk about it in the way that others do—each person is unique, and will approach life’s experiences differently. But finding people who you can trust and depend on to talk to you about the hard things in life can go a long way towards helping you understand your own feelings about your cancer. And speaking with cancer survivors—people who have been through what you are experiencing and come out victorious—can help you remember that this is not a hopeless situation, but rather one that can be defeated.
Living with Cancer
Your life will also change physically as you go through cancer treatments. These might include invasive surgeries or radiation and chemo therapies. Many of these treatments are uncomfortable (to say the least)—but they are also a lifeline to your future. Embracing your treatment and finding ways to strengthen yourself physically is key to a rapid recovery. As hard as it might be, find ways to exercise, eat as much healthy food as possible and maintain a happy, positive outlook on life.
Remember, you are not the only person who has been diagnosed with cancer. There are millions of others who are going through the same thing as you right now, and millions more who have come through cancer and gone on to live healthy, fulfilled lives. Seek out these people and spend time getting to know them. They will more than likely be willing to share their time and experiences with you—to give you inspiration through their stories. There is nothing more valuable than knowing that you are not alone, and that others have succeeded at the hard task you now face.
A great place to meet people who have had similar experiences is at cancer support groups. These groups are often hosted and mentored by cancer survivors—people who understand what you are going through, and what you will face in the coming months. Being surrounded by people who are fighting the same battle as you will inspire you to dig deep and find that hope and strength you need for the road ahead.