Living with cancer
“I have cancer.”
You might never become comfortable with uttering those three words, and you don’t have to. The key is to try to understand the cards you’ve been dealt, and make the best of them. How you do this is different for everyone.
Dealing with emotions
Every emotion is a normal one. Denial, anger, fear, stress and anxiety, depression, sadness, guilt and loneliness are all normal feelings. So are feelings of hope, gratitude and optimism. All of these feelings can come and go, sometimes all in one day.
Be true to your feelings
Some people pretend to be cheerful when they aren’t. Some peoplewant to show the world they can handle cancer on their own, but this might keep them from getting needed help. Try to be honest and talk about all of your feelings, not just the positive ones.
Don’t be afraid to tell people what you need from them and what type of response is helpful to you. If you just want to vent and not receive advice, be clear. If you’re looking for specific help, be clear about that too.
“Live one day at a time with patience and love for the people that are closest to you. Take the good that each day provides.”
SANTA FEAN LIVING WITH CANCER
I look at my journey as a gift: It mademe slowdown and realize the
important things in life and taught me to not sweat the small stuff.”
OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN, SINGER/ ACTRESS, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR
Living with a “new normal”
Cancer treatment can be tiring and is almost always stressful, which may mean:
• Altered routines
• Changed roles and duties in your family
• Strained or strengthened relationships
• Challenges in dealing with money and insurance
• Living with someone else for a while
• Needing help with chores and errands In the midst of this new normal, there are ways to reduce stress, and many of them offer the chance to spend quality time with those you care about or do some of the personal things you’ve always wanted to do:
LISTENING TO MUSIC Reading books and magazines that interest you
• Find the best medical team for you. Ask for referrals and choose those who can help you the most.
• Ask questions, seek information and take your time with big decisions.
• Consider joining a support group.
• Take good care of your body, and be open to something new.
• Treat yourself well.
• Celebrate triumphs, no matter how small they may seem. Find any excuse to reward yourself with anything that will make your life better.
Taking up a creative outlet, such as crafts or music
STARTING A NEW PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Watching fun or uplifting videos and movies online, or catching up on sports
Writing your thoughts in a journal
PRAYING OR MEDITATING
Reconnecting or catching up with old friends
SOURCES: National Cancer Institute