Most people need time to adjust to the fact that they have cancer. There is no right or wrong way to feel during this time. Shock, fear, anger, disbelief — all of these emotions are normal and can make it even more difficult to fully comprehend the medical information shared by your cancer care team. Take time to digest your diagnosis and familiarize yourself with treatment options. Each person copes with cancer in their own way, but the following tips may help:
1. Learn, learn, learn. Learn as much as you possibly can about your cancer and treatment options. Some people find that this gives them a sense of control over what is happening to their body. It also helps them understand their cancer and treatment options as fully as possible.
2. Focus on the things you can control. It’s normal to grieve over how your life has changed. It’s normal to feel sad, stressed, or uncertain. You cannot control how you feel, but expressing those feelings can help you feel more in control versus feeling overwhelmed by these emotions. Talk with trusted friends or relatives, keep a private journal, or even express yourself through a creative outlet.
3. Take care of yourself. Take time for you every single day. Spend time with a friend, cook your favorite meal, or do something else you really enjoy. If you feel up to it (and your doctor says its okay) get some light exercise in to help you feel better.
4. Reach out. There will be times when staying strong is hard and things feel overwhelming. You don’t have to have it together all the time. Try to widen your circle. Reach out to friends, family, or support organizations to help yourself feel less alone. They’ll be there to share your triumphs and tribulations every step of the way.