Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis
You will be faced with many challenges throughout your cancer journey. Physical, mental, emotional, financial, and even social challenges can arise at different times.
There are certain coping strategies that can help you avoid becoming consumed or overwhelmed by the emotions that these challenges may bring. These coping strategies are tools for maintaining your emotional well-being by adapting attitudes and behaviors which can help you to overcome the sense of overwhelm.
Research studies have shown that certain coping strategies can improve your emotional well-being and thereby make you feel more empowered and resilient.
1. Maintain Self-Esteem
There are some negative stigmas around cancer that can damage your self-esteem. Cancer can also affect your physical appearance, your physical abilities, and often your pride.
People who continue to do the things they love to the best of their ability after a cancer diagnosis, have an easier time adjusting.
This may include, continuing to get your nails done, finding a wig that matches your original hair, going for bike rides, or setting new goals for yourself and creating an action plan to conquer them.
2. Seek Proper Support
Most people don't know what to say when you tell them about your cancer diagnosis. It's ok to tell your family and friends that you don't need their positive vibes, you need them to acknowledge that cancer sucks and you would rather share your grief and fears with someone who is your friend and not your cheerleader....In nicer words of course...
We also highly recommend seeking professional therapy or joining a support group. Having the ability to talk to a professional is clinically proven to immediately decrease stress levels. You’re also more likely to accept their recommendations than you would from a friend or family member.
3. Own Your Cancer
There are two ways of dealing with a cancer diagnosis. You can either go along with whatever your healthcare team has in mind for you, accepting that you'd rather know as little as possible, or you can become informed about your diagnosis and play an active role in your own healthcare.
Research has shown that people who have a good understanding of their type of cancer and the treatments that their Oncologist chosen for them, have better outcomes and overall mindset throughout their cancer journey.
4. Choose Optimism
The ability to remain positive after a cancer diagnosis may be easier said than done. However, those who choose to push away most of the negative thoughts that creep in, are better able to control their emotions.
A cancer diagnosis can bring out the worst but also the best in you. It's up to you whether you choose to think positively. Your thoughts are something you can control. People who choose to have a positive attitude have less stress, which is an important part of your recovery and well-being.
5. Maintain Balance
While it's important to try to remain optimistic, it's just as important allow yourself to go through the motions which are often referred to as the Stages of Grief.
This may be the grief of losing your old self, a part of your body, your old lifestyle, or having to 'slow down' in terms of your lifestyle or physical abilities.
Everyone experience the stages of grief in a different sequence. They typically include denial, anger, depression, acceptance, and eventually hope.
It can be difficult to remain hopeful when you've just been diagnosed or when you're going through treatment and aren't feeling so well, but once you start to feel better is when it becomes easier to remain hopeful and positive.