Hearing you have cancer is life-changing and overwhelming in many ways. It is true that some cancer diagnoses do not have a cure, but that is not the case for all. Many cancer patients have come back from their fight in full remission, with a new, hope-filled outlook on life. Here are a few ways that cancer survivors’ perspective on their lives changed after they went through their own illnesses.
1. We know not to get caught up in statistics
It can be easy to spend hours on Google searching your particular cancer and coming across articles and testimonials that will leave you with little hope. It is important when you are diagnosed to avoid the black hole of the Internet, and instead discuss concerns and reliable resources with your primary doctor. Every cancer patient is different and their body reacts to the illness in a way that is unique to their physiological make-up. Having cancer provides enough stress as it is, and it is important to focus on the positive instead of the negative.
2. We know to be our own advocate
If something does not feel right with your treatment plan, it is important to be proactive and get a second opinion from another medical professional. Doctors will always differ in what they believe in is the right process to fight cancer and so getting a second and even a third opinion is crucial to your overall recovery. Of equal importance, listen to your gut when you think that something feels right, because it usually is.
3. We know that it is best to take it one day at a time
Having a cancer diagnosis is an overwhelming life event that will make you want to think about the bigger picture and focus on the future. It is important instead to focus on each day as it comes and remain in the present. This will help you relieve a lot of stress and also make you feel that you are better equipped to tackle the day-to-day problems that are bound to arise.
4. We know that you do not have to face cancer by yourself
Dealing with cancer is a scary thing, but what makes it easier is finding a support group where members can relate to exactly what you are going through. You can find these groups at your local hospital or clinic, community college or adult learning center, or through your primary doctor. Making the effort to connect with others who are experiencing a similar illness is important, because not only does being social boost your mental state, it can give you the positive encouragement to recover. If one-on-one therapy is more your cup of tea, seek out a mental health professional in your area that can help you through some of the complex emotions that are associated with cancer.
5. We know that taking care of your body and mind is of the utmost importance
There will be some days where you just feel like lying on the couch and eating comfort foods. This is perfectly fine to do, but it is also important to continue to nourish your body with the proper nutrients and eat a balanced diet. It is also important to remain as active as possible, even if it is just a 20-minute walk around the block. Taking care of your mind is also just as important as well, whether it is doing restorative yoga or taking a few minutes to meditate. Just because your body is sick does not mean it cannot heal and it is important to do everything in your power to help it do so.
Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com