June 12, 2017
Hearing the words “it is cancer” can be devastating. The word itself is frightening and it can stop anyone in their tracks. It was not that long ago that a cancer diagnosis was a death sentence as there were very few cures for the disease and it was not at all understood. Today, however, the prognosis for almost all types of cancers when caught in the early stages is excellent and there are even some caught in later stages that can be stopped. However, one of the keys to conquering cancer is staying strong, both mentally and physically. Yet, when undergoing treatment, strength is not always easy. These four tips can help you remain strong both mentally and physically so that you have a better chance of beating the illness.
You may think that it is impossible to put a positive twist on cancer, but that is exactly what many survivors say they were somehow able to do. For them, it gave them a new appreciation for life and a sense of empathy that only someone who has gone to the ends of the world could understand. Cancer makes you face mortality and it causes fear among your family and friends. What this means is that people draw closer to you while you start doing those things you have put off for so long. Putting on a positive face also calms those around you. If you are positive, they get the sense that everything will be just fine and are better able to support you when you need support. However, this may be easier said than done. To be positive, you have to truly believe in your optimism. For many, they are able to do that as they turn outward and lift up those around them. Some may even use techniques such as repeating affirmations and meditating.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are battling cancer is thinking that they can continue to do everything they did before their diagnosis. The fact is that radiation and chemotherapy are extremely hard on the body. Just know that you’re in good hands and that the medical experts around you are there to help you and they’ll do all that they can to get you through this. Not only that, but you can trust that they are educated. Your radiologist most likely went through a radiology program so that they can learn the skills necessary to help you—so listen to such professionals and let them help you.
Also, you should realize that needing to accept certain types of help may mean you cannot do everything you did before you entered treatment. You don’t have to be at every band practice and if you simply don’t have the energy to cook dinner, order take out and don’t feel guilty. Although keeping a sense of normalcy is important, there is nothing wrong with accepting help while you are undergoing treatment. It may be as simple as taking advantage of transportation networks offered by your local hospital rather than driving yourself to an appointment or asking a friend to do your grocery shopping for you. There is no shame in admitting you need assistance when you are literally fighting for your life.
When you are feeling like yourself, do the things you have always done in the same routine manner. If you volunteered at a local church once each week before your diagnosis, keep doing it afterward when you feel you are up to it. If you have a job, continue to work as much as you can to keep your life as normal as it was before you were diagnosed. There is no question that you will have to miss some of the things you used to do during treatment, but by keeping your routine as normal as possible, you can keep your mind mentally strong as you fight the illness.
Hearing from others who are going through the same things can be very cathartic. Many hospitals now offer support groups for people who are undergoing cancer treatment. There are also some that are specifically for diagnoses of certain types of cancer, such as prostate or breast cancer. Some of the groups are available at mobile clinics created by healthcare providers and many offer free transportation. It is a way to get ideas from people who are or have gone through exactly what you are going through, giving you the opportunity to learn tips, tricks and ideas that may help you cope as well.
If you’re the one who has been diagnosed with cancer, it is my sincere hope that the above tips will help you to stay stronger. If you know someone who has cancer and is struggling, then I hope that you will share with them at least one of the above tips and be there to support them as they go through this trial.