Top 10 Things to Do if you have Cancer
Dear Cancer Patient,
Firstly, I want to say that I am a 22 year old girl and have NO business or right being here and preaching about what you should and should not do. The distress faced by you and your family cannot be apprehended by anyone but you. For other people like me who have had no personal confrontation, the first word that comes in our head when we hear cancer is “bucket list”, and I’m sure the inside track is a complete contrast.
I was going to make this article a “list of things to do before death” like go trekking, go to a strip club and fulfill every innermost wish before you succumb to this malignant disease and bid farewell to dear life. However, when I tried to realize the true meaning of cancer for you and it was impossible to even imagine.
You would have been living a regular life until you experienced a minor health issue. Just for formalities’ sake, you would have gone for a check-up and you’d have been in the waiting room playing doodle jump , until the doctor came and told you “I’m sorry; the test results show that you have cancer.” For a very long time, your mind would have gone blank. You would have asked the doctor if he was sure and wondered whether there had been a mistake.
There is a saying that no decision should be taken with a troubled mind, which is why I would like to bring to you a clear vision which is not blurred by feelings of shock, dismay and every negative emotion in the world. Here are some ways to deal with this transition and what you should be prepared to do.
10. Catch the ball of shock and bounce it back
The first feeling you may experience is denial. It is sometimes necessary as it gives you time to adjust to your diagnosis, but make sure it doesn’t last too long. You need to accept that for some abstract reason, you have been chosen to battle with this disease; cry it out if you need to. I can understand how burdensome the first few weeks after diagnosis would be as you embrace a new lifestyle involving disruptions by doctor visits and treatments, maybe even quitting your college or job. It is natural for you to be shattered. Each time you wake up, the realization will dawn upon you and you might want to go back to sleep. In spite of having all your friends and family around you, you might feel alone. Know that all these feelings are normal, but also know that this is the first phase and it needs to get over, because it’s not healthy for you or your family.
9. Be proud of yourself
Right now, you need to give yourself a pat on the back for the amazing person you have been. If you have given your family a satisfactory uncomplicated life, I want to come and meet you personally and tell you that YOU.ARE.AWESOME. Not everyone is capable of this. I personally know husbands who beat up their wives, fathers who harmed their children under the influence of alcohol and in-laws who burned their bahu’s. If you have successfully refrained from being one of these hideous people, you have achieved something incredible.
8. Cut out the self-pity
You have my sympathy and the sympathy of all your family and friends, but you can’t afford to sympathize with yourself right now. However intimidated you are at the thought of losing your hair, constantly eating medicines and being under pain, you need to take care of your family, be strong and emerge as the generator of positive vibes. Depression is a normal response to cancer but the after effects it has will cause you to be lazy, eat less, be hopeless, lose interest in being with family, cry excessively, have sleeping problems and have thoughts of killing yourself. If you recognize these symptoms beforehand, you will realize that nothing will come out of any of this. Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.
7. This is the time to be intelligent
I know you feel like life is out of control. Life as you knew it has changed and in this scenario, the last thing you can do is study. You might wonder whether you will live or die and feel helpless when doctors around you mention your name repeatedly as a third person, involving lots of medical words you have no clue about.
This is the time to be in charge, not be that helpless patient. Go online and learn as much as you can about the cancer you have. Ask your doctor, and know what to do in case of emergency. As you go through any painful treatments, imagine your happy place. Some fears about cancer are based on stories, rumors, and old information. Most people feel better when they know what to expect. As one man with prostate cancer said,
“I read as much as I can find about my cancer. Imagining the worst is scarier than knowing what might happen. Having all the facts makes me much less afraid.”
6. Family time
Don’t feel guilty for your family and the things they have to go through because of you. You getting cancer is NOT your fault. Even if it IS, don’t think in that direction for now. Just be happy for the love between you and your family and know that you all will sail through this tough time together.
5. The little things
This is something that will come naturally. You will become your own philosopher and start analyzing the little pleasures of life. The joy of sleeping till whenever you want, the joy of lying down in the back seat of the car and staring at the stars when your mommy and daddy are driving, the joy of being loved and cared for by so many people.
Though it may sound cliché, but do all those little things in your free time that will take your mind off it. Paint a wall of your room, learn guitar, write, and be a witness to the most beautiful time of the day-The mornings. Trust me, it will help.
Stress will keep your body from fighting disease as well as it should, so let there be no room for stress. Meditate. If anyone needs it, you do. Every time your thoughts turn rebellious, just breathe in slow and breathe out just as slow. Have a secret competition inside yourself- you need to be the happiest cancer patient who ever existed. People should be puzzled when they see how genuinely happy you are.
People with cancer often feel lonely or distant from others. You may find that your friends have a hard time dealing with your cancer and may not visit and sometimes, even when you are with people you love and care about, you may feel that no one understands what you are going through. If you feel angry with everyone who is healthy, don’t pretend that everything is okay. Talk with your family and friends about it.
Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.
3. Be negative
I should not ask this of you but I don’t know why it seems to be the right advice. Think of all the cases where horrible things happened to people without warning. There have been people who have faced a fate much MUCH worse than you. When you compare your life to theirs, you will see a bigger picture. A picture in which you are just another person chosen to go to the battleground and it is up to you to emerge victorious.
2. Be positive
Know that there are many reasons to feel hopeful. Look at the bright side and read every survival story you get your hands on. Some doctors think that hope may help your body deal with cancer.
You may find hope in nature, religion or spirituality. I would also suggest “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne.
1. Read these facts
- There are 28000000 cancer survivors worldwide, 12 million in the U.S.
- Globally, the leading cause of deaths is heart disease and not cancer.
- More than half of all cancers and cancer deaths are potentially preventable.
- Christina Applegate, Angelina Jolie, Kylie Minogue, Sheryl Crow and several others have successfully battled cancer.
- Lance Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996 and it had spread to his brain and lungs. He was originally given a poor chance of survival, but he went on to not only beat cancer, but also win the Tour de France 7 times!
You are right now sitting in a cozy bed, have people who love you, access to internet, a computer and you will finish the fight that cancer started, because it is very very limited.
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit