Coping with Cancer

Coping with Cancer

WE ARE HERE TO HELP

When you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it is normal to experience a range of feelings. You may feel sadness, anger, denial, anxiety, hope, hopelessness, and guilt. These are normal and expected reactions.

The first step in learning to cope with cancer is to become informed. We cannot expect to learn to cope with something if we do not know anything about it and we do not have a plan forward. So let’s start by becoming informed. Your doctors will speak to you about your diagnosis. Use the opportunity to ask questions.

This is your journey and information can be incredibly empowering. It might be helpful to include a family member or a close friend in these sessions with your doctor. Sometimes the mass of information can be overwhelming so it helps for the second set of ears.

It will also be helpful for this support person to hear about your illness as they will most likely be the ones to look after you during and after treatment.

Once we are informed about the illness it will help to come up with a plan. Your care team will speak to you about a treatment plan. You might be faced with some difficult decisions. It might help to see a counsellor in this time to work through your thoughts.

Feel free to contact Kirstie, Haemalife’s social worker, for some help working through this. She will provide a neutral space for you to talk about your feelings around your illness and she will help you to identify your support system for this journey.

If you have questions regarding your treatment, feel free to contact your care team for more information. They are always willing to help make things easier for you.

Now that you are informed, you have a plan, and you know who your support system is, you will be more equipped to deal with your cancer. One may never come to terms with their cancer, but there are things we can do to make coping with cancer easier.

Remember to be kind to yourself on this journey and to practice self-care. Accept help when it is offered, and lean on your support system.

Consider regular counselling, talking about your journey can be very cathartic. If you do not feel comfortable talking to a counsellor maybe try to identify a family member or close friend that you can confide in. Alternatively, you can try writing about it, or exploring other creative avenues to express your feelings.

Look after your physical health too. Eat healthily and exercise regularly, even if you can only manage some light stretching or a walk. A cancer diagnosis can challenge your spirituality.

You might find it helpful to talk to a spiritual leader to help guide you through this time. Consider joining a support group. It can be very healing to hear other’s stories and to share your own with others experiencing the same thing.

There are resources available to help you in coping with this cancer journey. Here are a few links to assist you in coping with cancer:

www.cancerbuddies.org.za
www.cansa.org.za
www.plwc.org.za