What to do if you are diagnosed with cancer
Talk about the 5 stages of experiencing the disease
Consider 10 rules to help defeat the enemy
When any person is faced with cancer, he is left alone with a certain psychological response of the body. According to studies, it can be divided into several stages: shock or denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. All of them are characterized by several features.
Phase 1: Shock or denial
Cancer is always scary, incomprehensible, and shocking. It comes uninvited and tries to gnaw the person from the inside. This encounter is always accompanied by shock, expressed through tears, hysteria, panic, and denial. To believe in the existence of the diagnosis at this point, one wants the least of all. It is easier for the person to question the competence of the doctor and the validity of the examinations.
Phase 2. Anger
Emotional overload often develops into anger. It pours out on everyone and everything around: work, friends, relatives, doctors, and even oneself. It hurts to keep it to yourself, but it hurts, even more, to show it to others. At this point, it is important to enlist the support of loved ones. They will help you cope.
Phase 3. Bargaining
A monologue with yourself, a dialogue with God, attempts to agree… A new round of experience is accompanied by an attempt to bargain with the higher forces. Bids are offered in exchange for a cure – “I will become a better person”, “I will never again…” or “I will believe in you, GOD”. This is just an attempt to believe in yourself.
Phase 4. Depression
Retreat from the problem into yourself. Total apathy and unwillingness to be anything. Constant fatigue, disconnection from one’s environment, and inability to carry out daily activities. This is the most difficult period, which can drag on, so it is important to give yourself an internal deadline to “get over” depression.
Phase 5. Acceptance
Opening the curtains and letting the light into your life. The desire to live and fight along with the search for new meaning and goal-setting become a reality. This is a time of complete transformation and change for the better.
Helping yourself through…
All phases are the journey a person facing a cancer diagnosis must take. The phases do not always go one by one, sometimes the person goes back to the previous step or is in one of them for a long time. It is important to enlist the help of loved ones and to help yourself through all five stages of the experience. To do this, here are 10 rules to help you cope.
Rule 1: Speak up.
No matter how bitter it may be, you should not keep silent. Silence kills, and a good companion will help you heal. Support from loved ones, doctors, psychologists, people who are just beginning their journey, and those who have already healed can help you not only to speak out but also to find answers to your questions and to believe in your strength.
Rule 2. Choose your interlocutor
Start your search for a companion with you with whom you feel comfortable sharing your concerns. Sometimes it is easier to find support among strangers. For example, go to a priest, or a psychologist or find a support group. Perhaps for you, the doctor who is treating you will be an authority. He will not only pick up the words of support but fully illuminate all the questions about your diagnosis, treatment, and lifestyle. Your family and friends know you best, and even if the disease has changed you, they will find the right words to say.
Rule 3. Think about the timing
Grief is an important phase to go through. But should you spend a lot of time on it? This is your life to live! Start fighting the disease as soon as possible.
Rule 4: Think positively
Let yourself replenish your energy and think positive thoughts every day – set realistic little goals, do something you’ve been dreaming about for a long time, find a hobby, or rewatch your favorite movies. All of this will help you believe in yourself and start thinking positively. Even an ordinary daily walk in the park will become an outlet.
Rule 5. Take Treatment More Seriously
Treatment is the only chance to beat the disease. It’s not just surgery and medication. It is also a work with your thoughts, state of mind, lifestyle, and physical fitness. Take it seriously and learn everything you need to do.
Rule 6. Fight and beat the odds
Find out about the best cancer centers in your city or country. Find specialists you can trust. To do this, read reviews, make an appointment in person, and just talk. Doctors and medical staff are your friends, so it’s important to start working with them as soon as possible and build a battleground.
Rule 7. Learn how to talk to your doctor
Unfortunately, the doctor can’t give you all of his time. He has many patients who also require constant help and support. The same is true of other medical staff. But you are just as entitled to attention as everyone else, even short-term. To make the meeting as productive as possible – prepare for it in advance. Draw up a list of questions or problems you will face, and write down everything that needs to be discussed.
Rule 8: Live here and now
Don’t divide life into “before” and “after.” Life goes on during the diagnosis. Many begin to live it more vividly than they did before the disease because they begin to appreciate every breath. Take control of the situation and just live.
Rule 9. Find resources
Look for all the support groups and social service foundations in your city. They are sure to help you cope and find both emotional and financial support.
Rule 10. Be mindful of nutrition and doctor’s appointments
Remember to follow all the doctor’s recommendations: change your lifestyle, change your diet, go to all your medical appointments, get tests, and don’t forget to exercise.