Cancer Will Try and Take Control. Don't Let It.
Cancer is a double whammy, as you have to immediately cope with the disease, plus cope with a sudden loss of control and self-direction. But it IS possible to take control back. Read more.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, wrapping my brain around the initial diagnosis resulted in a feeling of being totally shell-shocked. It wasn't on my 'radar screen,' so hearing this news after a routine screening was like getting hit in the head with a huge boulder. I was left to feel this overwhelming and tremendous sense of loss. It was a loss of control - not only of my body, but of my life. I felt like I had little to no time in the decision-making process, as everyone around me wanted to start to fight this cancer.
All of these reactions lead to feelings of hopelessness and much sadness. This anxiety was then coupled with the fear of the unknown for what may lie ahead. It was hard to face the future when I didn't know what the future might look like. It was both difficult to grasp on and stay focused while starting and undergoing my comprehensive treatment plan.
I knew that just as my doctors had a plan for my cancer treatment, I had to develop a plan for my own emotional treatment. I figured out some strategies that helped me navigate this journey and take the control back.
- Speak up for yourself! Give yourself permission to be your own best advocate. Ask lots of questions of your Oncology medical team and keep on until you get the answers you feel you need to lesson your anxiety.
- Knowledge is power! The more information that you fully understand before, during and after treatment, the disease and what you can expect, the more your fears will begin to subside. Educate yourself about your specific type of cancer. Learn as much as possible to be a well-informed patient.
Belong to a cancer support group.
- Being with others who may share many of the same anxieties and concerns, as you're experiencing is tremendously beneficial. Much comfort can be found by joining others with no fear of judgment.
- If you believe in a higher power, this will give you hope for the future. If you don't, gather strength from your family and loved ones who support your needs.
No one is ever ready to hear or be told the news "You have cancer." It is neither comfortable nor reassuring to feel 'stuck' having to make life-altering decisions and choices. If you do feel that your 'internal locus of control' isn't as steady as you'd like it to be then try to regain control by taking charge. If you take action you whole-heartedly believe in is in your best interest, it will enable you to become empowered for your best potential outcome.
How did you move forward and begin to regain this important and much needed sense of self-control when you felt so devastated?