Cancer brings with it uncertainty and a whole lot of challenges for patients as well as for the patients’ families. The suspense of what lies in store for the future can be nerve-racking and can cause a lot of frustrations. You are constantly overwhelmed with questions — Is the treatment going to work? What are some of the side effects of that specific treatment? Will the treatment cost me and my family a fortune?
To help you better cope with the reality of cancer, we’ve compiled a list of tips that will ease your pain and frustration.
You cannot cope with cancer by fixating on the frustration of it all. Of course, to be diagnosed with cancer is shocking, to say the least, but to move forward from the mindset of a victim, you’ll have to accept the reality eventually, and learn to live with it. Acceptance is the first step of overcoming the emotional pain that comes with cancer.
Gather all the information about your illness, and the treatment options that you have, in order to prepare for whatever comes next. Ask questions about your disease, research as much as you can, build a comprehensive idea and understanding of the cancer you have. Cancer treatments often involve trials, and to ensure that you know what you are getting yourself into, you need to know all about the Scientific aspects of the treatment.
Keep an open communication with friends and family
Learn to rely on the support that your family provides you. Patients often close off to family members because they are still reeling from the trauma. Some terminal cancers, like pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer, for example, can cause patients to completely close off to the outside world. Keeping your family and friends within the loop about your disease is going to help you in getting the strength to fight the cancer.
Learn about your treatment
Learn about different treatment options that are available, and, before you decide to pick a treatment plan, learn about all the steps involved in the treatment, ask questions about the medicines, the trials, the side effects, in short, anything and everything that has a bearing on your treatment. Why? Because knowing all this will help you to prepare for it and better cope with the progression of the treatment emotionally. You might experience weight loss, memory loss, or even hair loss, during the treatment; it would be good to know these things beforehand.
Follow a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle helps with managing stress and keeping fatigue away. Studies show that people who are active respond better to treatments and have a longer life expectancy compared to others.
To help the treatment proceed successfully, you’ll have to adjust your diet and get adequate sleep. Adopting a yoga, or meditation practice can help greatly with stress and anxiety. Writing therapy is also a great way to process your feelings.
Refocus your goals and priorities in life
During the treatment, you’ll get ample time to reflect on your life priorities. You might find that your loved ones are worth more than work or money and that spending time with them makes you feel good. You might even take that trip that you’ve been putting off for so long now, or finish that novel that you said you would and never got to because of how busy you were. Reorienting your whole life to align with your newfound priorities will make you emotionally happy.
Keep yourself busy
Focus on things under your control instead of worrying about the uncertain future and what it may bring. Feeling rewarded and accomplished can feel satisfying. You can still leave your impact on life by learning a new language, picking up a new skill, or by volunteering for that charity foundation in your community. On top of everything, make new connections, bond with people on a human level, and invest time in them because cancer doesn’t give you a license to wallow in grief all alone.
Seek your support network
Join support groups and connect with people who have been through a similar journey. You will need all the support you can get, and, besides, socializing with people you feel comfortable with is good for your mental health. Ask for help in running errands, preparing a meal, or to babysit your children while you take the time off to go vacationing. Plus, you can also join a local cancer support group where people with similar stories gather to share their experiences of the disease.
Don’t cope with cancer alone when you can have all the support in the world. Reflect on your priorities, read as much as you can about the cancer treatments, ask questions, make lifestyle changes along the way, and don’t feel embarrassed in asking for help.