Receiving the Diagnosis
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is the biggest life-changing event that anyone will face. Not only the immediate concerns for life expectancy and treatments are considered but also the realization that even if your cancer goes into full remission, you may spend the rest of your life having to cope with watching for signs of its return. Without a consistent plan for coping with your cancer diagnosis, it will be very easy to spiral into a depression that will also negatively affect your physical state.
How to Continue Coping after a Cancer Diagnosis
Keep in mind that some days you will be ready to fight this disease, and other days you will be simply overwhelmed by it. These are natural human emotions, and need to be considered in the overall plan of coping with your cancer diagnosis. First of all, be sure to get all of the facts about your condition. A good way to accomplish this is to ask a family member or close friend to attend the first few doctor’s appointments with you. Again, assuming that you may be unable to absorb all that is said, having a support person there with you will help fill in the gaps when you are trying to recall all that was said later. Write down any questions you may have before your appointments and be prepared to write down the answers during your visits to the doctor.
Helping Family and Friends Cope with Your Cancer Diagnosis
While your own feelings and health are the primary concern during a battle with cancer and the coping with the diagnosis, there is much strength to be drawn from keeping family and friends close by. Being open with friends and family about your cancer diagnosis will not only help you to cope with your condition, but will also help them cope with your cancer diagnosis by allowing them to be there to support you. Family and friends will be better able to cope with your condition if they know that they can help you in some way by running errands or preparing meals or helping with the kids. Your friends will offer their help, it is important for both them and for you that you accept.
Look to National Organizations for Help Coping with Your Cancer Diagnosis
Do not assume that you are in this alone. There are many excellent support groups and counseling services specifically geared to patients and families coping with a cancer diagnosis. While maintaining close relationships with family and friends is paramount to continued recovery, it is also very helpful to use strangers as a sounding board for those fears that you don’t want to impose on those close to you. Check with your doctor for recommendations for local support groups to help you cope with your condition.