When you are diagnosed with cancer you experience a range of emotions from fear, anxiety, stress, distress in coping, and denial. This is to be expected, however, it is important you seek the support and help that you need. With cancer, it’s not just the body that suffers but the mind and these emotions can last years even decades after you are in remission. Dealing with them in a healthy way is an important step in your recovery. Here are some tips to help you get through this difficult time:
- Join a support group. Meeting with people who are going through the same thing you are going through can help you feel less isolated and alone. Sharing your experience is therapeutic and may even bring others comfort without your knowledge.
- See a professional. Going to a mental health professional is also a good way to get this emotional rollacoster off your chest. There are mental health providers that specialize in treating patient’s with cancer. These doctors are trained to help you on your road to recovery as you go through this journey.
- Ask a social worker if your hospital offers any special programs for cancer patients. We went to Sloan Kettering in NYC that offered a range of offers for my family and I including a sleep away camp for children with cancer, a ski trip to Aspen, and a family vacation to Maine. All paid for by the hospital. These trips were vital for both my family and I as it helped distract us from my illness and gave us a chance to feel “normal” even if it was just for a week.
- Low impact exercise (LIE). Only if your able to should you try to do some low impact exercises such as yoga and walking. Speak with your doctor before starting any new exercise. Research suggests that LIE has positive effects on both the body and mind. People who did LIE, compared to those that didn’t, during treatment had a more positive outlook. We all know exercise creates those “feel-good” endorphin’s in the body so why not?
- Have a good support system. This is not always an option for some, however, if you have people that want to be there for you….let them. I found it very hard, and still do, to reach out to people or except their support, but I’m glad I did. They got me through some of the worst days of my life and I do not know if I would have recovered without them.