After receiving a diagnosis of cancer, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed. Feelings of uncertainty about your future and financial concerns can trigger a number of different reactions, including grief. You may find yourself having trouble sleeping at night, your body aches, your head hurts, and you just feel exhausted.
There are many ways to cope with the stress and fear associated with cancer. With education and supportive care, you will be able to deal with the diagnosis and treatment of your cancer. If the following tips don't work and if you still feel you are having trouble coping, talk to your doctor. You may need more extensive counseling.
By Darci Picoult
It began with a bump. The size of a pinhead. Innocuous. An innocuous little pinhead of a bump on my vulva. Given that my gynecologist said the bump was probably nothing, I laughed it off. Which, in turn, made my bump mad. Very mad. It wanted my attention. And so it grew. I smeared it in medicine. It grew more. More medicine. More growth. Hanukkah came. Then Christmas. A war raged between us. I went to battle in the middle of the night with salt baths and creams. Prayed for its departure...
When you are facing cancer, stress can build up and affect how you feel about life. Prolonged stress can lead to frustration, anger, hopelessness, and at times, depression. The person with cancer is not the only one affected. Family members also are influenced by the ongoing health changes of a loved one with cancer.
The most important step you can take is to seek help as soon as you feel less able to cope with cancer. Taking action early will enable you to understand and deal with the many effects of your illness. Learning to manage stress will help you maintain a positive physical, emotional, and spiritual outlook.
Tips for Reducing Stress
Here are some tips for reducing stress:
Keep a positive attitude.
Accept that there are events you cannot control.
Be assertive instead of aggressive. "Assert" your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, combative, or passive.