Filtering the Information

When you’re first diagnosed with cancer you want answers… You want hope. So you jump online and start searching for information on your diagnosis, but instead of finding hope, you find every worst case scenario out there. I remember actually about passing out from looking up pictures of the surgery, I was about to face. Was white as a sheet and wouldn’t have dared trying to stand up.

The internet is a great thing, but it’s also your worst enemy, at times. You seek out support, but you may also be finding people that are dealing with advanced stages of the disease and that can be hard when you’re newly diagnosed and uncertain about what to expect.

One thing you need to remember is that a lot of people that get through the tunnel and survive it well, don’t always stay active in support groups (which is unfortunate). They try to move away from everything to do with cancer, they want to forget.

This isn’t necessary bad, but for those that are seeking positive stories, it makes it hard. The people most likely to give you hope, have moved on. So when you are seeking answers, you often are hearing some of the worst stories possible and in turn being scared to death. I found this, so I try to be available for newly diagnosed individuals whenever possible.

The challenge this creates is knowing what to tune in and what to tune out. It’s impossible to turn out everything, but you need to keep a level head (which is hard enough in the beginning). As great as support groups are, they often have a lot of individuals that feel it their responsibility to “warn” others about EVERY worst possible outcome and I can tell you from personal experience, that doesn’t help when you’re first diagnosed.

When we’re first diagnosed we need to know that the battle can be won, that though it will be a challenge, it is doable. Worst case scenarios are easy to find, we need hope. So choose your quest for knowledge carefully. Know that being positive is important and finding a great team includes finding people that have gone through the battle and won. We are out there and we want to help.

That being said, I’m always willing to help survivors see the brighter side of the battle and the light at the end of the tunnel.

Have a great week!

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.”  ~Christopher Reeve

Advertisements

When a Friend Recurs… Don’t JUST Eat Cookies

Living post cancer takes some getting used to and it takes a while to get to our new “normal” and even that becomes a strain when a friend’s cancer returns. It seems that the longer you live cancer free, the more you have to deal with friends that have their cancer recurring and unfortunately some will lose the battle. It’s a heartbreaking fact that we live with. For some of us, it’s when we start banging our heads against the wall and fear starts shooting through us. Something that logically we know can and will happen, but a fact we don’t want to face.

When my best friend’s cancer returned and sadly took her life, I was devastated because I felt that after several years that we HAD to be safe! This wasn’t supposed to happen and I was furious. Spent nearly a month just wanting to sleep and eat cookies, not wanting ANYTHING to do with the rest of the world. Living with the blind rage that I hadn’t felt since I was first diagnosed, it took nearly a year to move past it.

The bottom line is that these feelings are normal, we are human and life is delicate. When someone we care about has their cancer return it makes us question if ours will, also and it might, but we can’t allow it to paralyze us and keep us from living.

There are a few things you can do to ease the fears…

  • Don’t hide in bed (I know this first hand. I was a train wreck that just wanted to sleep and eat cookies and that did NOTHING to help). You need to get out with people and be active. Your friends will help give you the strength to move forward.
  • Understand that though the chance is always out there, your cancer won’t necessarily return because your friend’s did. It will make you aware that it can, but the future isn’t written in stone.
  • Take this time to remember that you need to take your health seriously. Being complacent isn’t going to be helpful. This is your reminder to how delicate life is.
  • Be there for your friend. You’ve been there and know what they are feeling. Give back and be grateful that you can.

These are only a few ways to move through the fear, but the best thing you can do is keep living and not hole up and hide. Being active, social, and finding someone to talk to is important. Life is a gift and if you’ve survived cancer, it’s a gift you cannot take for granted. Share sunshine and light up the world with hope.

Have a wonderful week and spread some sunshine and why not share a few cookies too… Cookies make EVERYONE happy, but you can’t live on them (though some of us try).

“Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?”  ~Author Unknown