A diagnosis of cancer can be a devastating one for those who receive the diagnosis as well as for those close to them. One can feel utterly lost and overwhelmed, convinced that their life is irrevocably changed and not for the better.
So what can you do? What is the next logical step for a person who has been dealt the blow of a cancer diagnosis?
Confirm your diagnosis and get informed
In all important medical decisions, it may be a good idea to get a second opinion about your diagnosis.
Your prognosis, the stage that your cancer has reached, possible treatments, their chances of success, possible impacts that the cancer and the treatments can have on your life should all be evaluated.
Also do your own independent research on the sort of cancer you have been diagnosed with and get fully informed about it.
Read up on cancer survivor stories because this will give you hope and motivate you; also it will offer realistic tips and advice as well as the changes you can expect in your body and your life.
Communicate with friends and family
Those close to you may be as devastated by the news and you need to speak to them honestly about what you’re going through. It is normal to feel upset and it is important not to isolate yourself, but to allow people who care to help you and keep communicating.
If you are a fairly independent individual, you may find it strange to accept help, but remember if someone offers to help it is because they care and will lessen your stress considerably.
Look after yourself
One of the ways that you can fight the disease is to be as healthy as you can be so maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Being healthy can improve a cancer prognosis.
Studies have shown that people who are active during their cancer treatment fare better and have better prognoses. Don’t get disheartened and try and maintain your normal lifestyle as far as possible.
You should examine your health insurance at this time for inclusions and exclusions, whether you need greater coverage and so on. Examine The Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act or if any insurance is provided by your state.
If your financial position is sorted this will go a long way to easing your mind about the disease and what its treatment will cost.
Reevaluate your life and things important to you
A cancer diagnosis can be a sober reminder of one’s mortality and the transience and fragility of everything in life. This can be a time to take stock of one’s priorities and evaluate what is really important to you. This can calm you down and make you feel less out of control.
Anxiety and feelings of being unsure about the future are natural and stress is an obvious result. Create coping mechanisms to deal with this – starting a journal, joining a support group or an online forum, speaking to a counselor can help.
Learning relaxation techniques and finding some source of spiritual succor will also center and anchor you.