You’ve just received a diagnosis. Cells in a specific part of your body have become abnormal. You have cancer. A flood of complex emotions take over: shock, disbelief anger, grief. As you begin to process the news, questions begin filling your mind. Am I going to die? How will I tell my family? How am I going to pay for treatment? These emotions are normal and asking questions can provide you with powerful information during treatment. It’s important to remember that many cancers are treatable and millions of patients become cancer survivors. Advancements in medicine combined with numerous outlets of support help empower your journey to fight cancer and embrace life.
Knowledge is Power: Arming yourself with information can help you take control of variables in your treatment and accept the things you can’t change. Get a second opinion, learn as much as you can about your cancer, and utilize all available resources to determine the best treatment options for your specific cancer type. Consider enlisting a family member to help take notes at appointments or just be by your side for support.
It’s Okay to Hurt: Everyone copes with life stresses differently. Know that some family members and friends might react to the news in a way you may find puzzling. Share your feelings with loved ones and encourage them to do the same. Openly discuss how household roles may change when you are undergoing treatment. Partners can decide together how to tell children about your condition in age appropriate ways. Sadness, feelings of grief, and episodes of crying are normal emotions.
If these feelings extend for weeks without improvement or you feel hopeless, it may be a sign of depression. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately one in four people with cancer become depressed. It’s important to note that depression isn’t a sign of weakness and may be a chemical reaction to the treatments you’re receiving. Depression can be treated through medicine and counseling. For more information on coping with cancer, visit: http://bit.ly/1IN3p7U.
Keep Living: You don’t have to put life on hold during your treatments. Continue enjoying time with family and friends and doing the things you love. Some activities might be difficult or restricted based on the type of treatment you’re receiving and how it makes you feel. You may not have the energy for long hikes or bike rides right now, so explore new hobbies which you enjoy. Consider making a special board game night for family or try your hand at painting. It’s also important to take care of yourself through treatment by getting proper nutrition to keep up your strength. Engaging in emotionally and spiritually enriching activities can help you maintain a positive outlook throughout treatment.
Greater Boston Urology specializes in the treatment of urological cancers including prostate, kidney, bladder, and testicular cancer. Our physicians combine unprecedented medical care integrated with a holistic approach to ensure each patient the highest level of personalized attention. Please visit Greater Boston Urology’s website at http://greaterbostonurology.com/ for additional information and practice locations.