Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is frightening and can be devastating, especially when the prognosis is unfavorable. It can be difficult to maintain a positive perspective or even to perform your everyday routine. Adopting one or several coping mechanisms can make it easier to avoid becoming discouraged and overwhelmed while you work with your doctors to treat, and hopefully cure, your cancer.
DISCLAIMER: This article describes general circumstances concerning dealing with a cancer diagnosis. It is not intended to represent medical opinion or provide medical advice. Please consult with your physician concerning specific questions about your health.
Reach Out for Support
Although you may feel alone, there are several support resources available to cancer patients. Cancer support groups allow you to discuss your treatment and emotions with other people facing similar challenges, in a safe, accepting environment. Sounding out your feelings with others can also provide validation for you, as other people in the group come forward with their own challenges related to their illnesses and treatments.
Friends and family are also often willing, even eager to provide a sounding board for you. Discussing your feelings with others can also help avoid or overcome feelings of isolation that can lead to hopelessness. Friends and family also often feel helpless themselves; allowing them to feel as though they are providing support for you.
Get Out of the House
Especially if you are feeling fatigued from chemotherapy or radiation, or if you are suffering from depression, socializing with other people may seem like the least inviting prospect imaginable. However, try to maintain a normal routine, including socializing with your friends and loved ones, if at all possible. Your closest friends and family probably don’t expect you to entertain them; they just want to spend time with you.
Find a cause you believe in or an area where you possess expertise and volunteer your services. Volunteering can help you overcome feelings of helplessness. Reaching out to others often provides as much gratification for you as for the recipients of your services.
Pursue Creative and Physical Outlets
Keeping a journal allows you to vent your feelings in writing or in pixels on a computer or tablet screen without feeling like you are burdening others. You may wish to share some of the contents of your journal with other members of a support group or with a therapist, or you may maintain a totally private journal. Other creative outlets such as painting allow you to gain distance from your illness and your treatment, at least for a few hours at a time.
If you are physically able, schedule a few exercise sessions each week. You don’t have to run marathons, a simple walk or leisurely bike ride will do. Consider going with a friend to accomplish two goals – remaining physically active and maintaining social ties. Exercise generates feel-good endorphins that can elevate your mood while it raises your metabolism and burns calories.
Seek Professional Help
However, if you are facing significant emotional issues, such as major depression which are related to your cancer diagnosis or treatment, you may need to consider professional help. Some aspects of cancer treatment, such as losing your hair, are often traumatic. Seeking a therapist who specializes in trauma treatment can help you deal with those aspects of your circumstances.
In the event that the prognosis for your cancer is bleak, consider hospice care. Rather than conveying a message that you are giving up, hospice care is designed to provide the highest possible quality of life during the final phase of your life. Hospice care can often be carried out in your own home, with respite care provided to allow family members serving as caregivers to take much needed breaks.
A leading Mesothelioma Cancer Resource is MesotheliomaHelp.net – visit the website for more information. Joe Belluck is an independent cancer researcher. He contributes his research and findings on various natural health blogs in the hope that the circulation of information on the internet will help uncover a mesothelioma cure.
For Further Reading
- American Cancer Society: Find Support Programs and Services in Your Area
- American Cancer Society: Hospice Care Services
- CarePages: Five Tips to Stay Sane While Fighting Cancer
- Helpguide.org: Healing Emotional and Psychological Trauma