4 Tips For How To Deal With The Cancer Waiting Game
It is a game you have to play, one with no levels and no way to stop once you’re tired and just want to quit. You wait for a diagnosis. You wait for surgery. You wait to find out if you need further treatment. If you do, you wait more. You wait for your body to heal in between treatments. At times it feels like there is no end to all of the waiting.
I’ve lived through two cancers now and I am currently waiting to have a biopsy that will either tell me three out of the seven nodules in my thyroid are benign, like the others, or that I have another stop in the “I have cancer” train.
One might say I’ve become used to waiting, though I wouldn’t say that. I don’t think you ever get used to it, but there are ways you can cope when forced to play the waiting game.
1. Surround yourself with people who love and support you.
Do you have a strong support system? Are there people who you can pick up the phone and call if you feel overwhelmed? Can you join a Facebook group for people who have your type of cancer? Having someone willing to listen to any stress or upset you might be feeling, helps. I surround myself with family (my mother has been my rock through two cancers now), and friends that have heard my grief, my pain, and my anguish throughout this last cancer and have shown me nothing but love in return.
2. Take a moment for yourself at least once a day.
There are days when it will feel like what you’re waiting for will never come. And then there are days when it feels like what you don’t want to deal with (for me, it was chemotherapy) comes too quickly. Take a moment. Sit up straight. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale out through your mouth. Try to tell yourself, “I’m okay. I may not know what’s coming, but for now, I’m okay.” or whatever pops into your head to make you feel more at ease.
3. Don’t be afraid to cry, or feel things.
It’s not fucking easy when you have to face cancer. It takes everything and leaves you to rebuild yourself from the ground up. Having to wait on doctors or wait on your body or wait when you’re tired, miserable, and you just want it to be over while wanting to be strong for your family and friends, is overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to let those emotions out. You’re going through some super, super hard shit. Even if there’s just the possibility that you might have cancer, that’s terrifying. If you want to cry, then cry. Your feelings are valid and if crying helps you, then let the tears go.
4. Laugh once a day.
The thing that helped me through both cancers and all the waiting was laughing. I watched every episode of the Golden Girls for the millionth time during my first cancer. (If you can’t laugh while watching the Golden Girls, well, we can’t be friends.) My niece, who turned three during my first cancer treatment, could always bring a smile to my face or laugh out of me. You know the saying, “laughter is always the best medicine”? What better way to take your mind off of cancer or waiting for chemotherapy than laughing with someone or at a funny tv show or movie? (If you want a funny movie recommendation, I recommend Clue!)
How do you survive all the waiting we have to do?
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.