The reactions to a cancer diagnosis vary widely based on individuality. All cancer diagnoses are life-changing as there could be permanent physical changes to the body and an altered mind. How to cope with a cancer diagnosis is critical in the battle with cancer.
I experienced a lot of gray before coming to terms with my diagnosis. Though all my feelings were valid, I realized that these feelings used up a lot of my mental energy, keeping me from fully comprehending my treatment plan.
What did I do wrong:
I always wondered WHY I had breast cancer. I have no family history of cancer, and I didn’t have any known risk factors that could induce breast cancer and while I wasn’t particularly mindful of my lifestyle choices, I always did everything in moderation.
I had a BRCA gene test after my cancer diagnosis, hoping to get answers but the results came back detailing the cause of cancer as ‘UNKNOWN‘. It was a struggle for me in dealing with the result, as I looked to science to demystify the reason for my cancer. At the time, it was a whirlwind of emotions having to start cancer treatment without knowing why I had it.
Some people believe they are being punished for what they did or did not do. Most people wonder if karma came visiting as cancer. No… she didn’t! Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells grow out of control, crowding the normal cells and making it hard for the body to work optimally.
Cancer is not a punishment for things you did or didn’t do. Blaming yourself will only make you feel worse at a very critical and sensitive point in your life. The focus should be on taking complete care of your body and mind. Science definitely doesn’t know what causes all types of cancers.
How to cope with a cancer diagnosis:
It was a whirlwind of emotions that I experienced when I was diagnosed with cancer. From shock, fear, rage, disbelief ultimately to acceptance. Initially, everything seemed and looked gray to me. It took me a while to adjust to this diagnosis.
As humans, our coping mechanisms differ greatly. Each person does it their own way. No matter how a person chooses to react, it is completely founded. It is totally OK to grieve the loss of health and a degree of certainty in life.
Learn about your disease: Some people find that learning as much as they can about their disease gives them a sense of control over what’s happening. With multiple doctor visits and uncountable testing, knowing why everything is done helps people get more involved in their treatment plan.
Take care of yourself: Make time to take care of yourself. Appreciate the little things of life and do something you enjoy every day. Watch a movie, cook, meditate, listen to music or do anything that is enjoyable to you and can positively engage your mind. My all-time advice is to focus on living rather than dwelling on dying from cancer.
Family and friends: It is very hard for a person to fight cancer all alone. The strength to keep fighting may not be there always and the long and tedious battle with cancer could sometimes be overwhelming. Reaching out to family and friends could help you feel less alone.
Exercise: I constantly push myself to be active because I found that being active makes me less sick. I love to go on walks, do stretches or just engage in activities that keep me on my feet. Mild exercises should be considered if you feel up to it and if your medical team advises so.
Be expressive: There is absolutely no reason to play tough. It is OK to cry and be sad if you feel that way. Many people feel that expressing fear or sadness is a sign of weakness. It isn’t! Bottling up your feelings simply makes it harder to find a way of properly dealing with them. There are various ways of expressing your feelings, find one that works perfectly for you.
GOD: I love and believe in God. I know I am alive today just by the grace of God. People cope with cancer just like they cope with many other problems with life. Each person handles problems in their own unique way. As a child of God and God’s special possession, I got on my knees and prayed. I have unexplainable faith In my God and that has kept me positive through this grueling journey with cancer.
Never underestimate the power of hope…