You’ve just found out that you have cancer. Your initial reaction may have been one of shock and disbelief, even anger. Your natural emotional responses to such news will be strong and unpredictable; prepare to feel many different things over the next little while. Remember to give yourself space to breathe and do whatever it takes to accept the terms of your diagnosis.
Once you’re able to give yourself some time to absorb the news, you’ll want to figure out the right healthcare plan that works for you. You’ll speak with your doctor about medications, therapies, and other medical procedures you may need, and you’ll also want to consider steps to take to stay happy and healthy at home.
Find a Therapist
Therapy is the process of communicating your thoughts and feelings to a professional counsellor in a safe space. It’s a coping mechanism that allows you to express your deepest concerns to an objective person — someone outside your close family and friends group. Finding a therapist that works for you will help you manage your situation from a professional and monitored perspective.
The mere experience of unloading your hopes and fears to someone else is incredibly cathartic and will unburden you of stress that you may not even know is there. Talk to your doctor to see if they know of any therapists specializing in cancer patients.
Find a Support Network
While therapy is beneficial because you’ll gain professional insight, talking to other cancer patients can be just as, or even more, helpful. Group therapy sessions can offer an opportunity to discuss what you’re going through with people who truly get it. You’ll confide in others who understand the hardships and joys while you go through the journey together.
Consider telling your close friends and family members about your diagnosis. If chemotherapy or other intensive cancer treatments will be a part of your health plan, there will be days when you won’t feel your best. You’ll want a network of reliable people to lend a helping hand once in a while and to know that there are loving people available when you need them.
Palliative Care At Home
Palliative Care is the interdisciplinary healthcare approach to living with a life-limiting illness, such as cancer. Your doctor will prescribe medical treatments (such as radiation therapy) to attack the disease and prevent it from spreading. They will also likely recommend in-home palliative care alongside the primary treatment as a means of coping and managing the painful side effects of medicines and having the illness.
Look for a home healthcare provider in your area that offers in-home palliative care with specialized caregivers and nurses. Such caregivers will provide personal support right in the comfort of your home — from cooking and cleaning to managing prescription medications to monitoring your pain levels 24 hours a day.
When a doctor tells you that you have cancer, you may feel the world come to an abrupt pause. But once you absorb the information and reach out to friends, family, and healthcare professionals, you’ll realize that life does continue. You’ll experience joy and happiness, all with a little help from those who love you.