A potentially life-threatening disease, such as cancer, can be devastating, tragic, and extremely difficult to cope with and overcome. Almost no one expects such a life-changing diagnosis until it happens, leaving the patient unable to come to terms with the reality of living with a potentially life-ending disease.
Cancer, a malignant disease, has various forms and has as many varied causes. Although the survival rates for some cancers are high, the majority of the cancers are incurable and only damage-control results can be expected from treatment.
As regards to the causes, cancer is caused by a wide variety of factors, some are within our control while others live outside of our agency. Habits that lead to cancer, such as smoking, alcohol, and living a sedentary lifestyle, can be replaced with healthier habits to reduce cancer risks.
Environmental or workplace hazards that can lead to cancer, such as exposure to asbestos, are not under our immediate control. Asbestos exposure, specifically, is a common workplace hazard that leads to the development of a rare form of cancer known as mesothelioma, which affects, primarily, the lungs, and to a lesser extent, the linings of the stomach and testes.
What coping strategies are there for such a terminal disease?
In a terminal disease such as mesothelioma, the patient has no chance of survival and the treatment options or medical advice given can only serve to prolong life.
The major reason for stress in cancer patients is their financial inability to pay the hefty medical bills. Depending on where you live, these could be reasonably high to extremely high. In Florida, where treatment costs are higher than those in other states, you should immediately apply for compensation claim against the former employers. You could make a Google search for mesothelioma attorneys Florida and get your claims process underway.
Mesothelioma is rare, but other cancers, like lung cancer and prostate cancer, are not. To successfully cope with these cancers, you need to follow certain strategies.
Here is a rundown of those coping strategies that you will need after diagnosis:
Get information about your diagnosis
Cancer diagnosis can tip your entire world off its axis; everything in your life gets turned upside down. And with extreme and significant changes comes the need for acceptance and adapting yourself to get a grip on your life.
One of the primary coping strategies after a cancer diagnosis is to make sure you know all there is to know about the disease and ensure that you are well aware of your recovery plan.
Ask your health team the relevant questions that will help you cut through the clutter and uncertainty. For instance, you should ask about the cancer stage, the probability of recovery, the best treatment options, and the possible side effects of those treatment options, etc.
The time immediately after the diagnosis is the most critical and overwhelming for you and your loved ones: You may experience utter shock, disbelief, anxiety, and anger after being diagnosed. And while knowing the facts related to your disease won't immediately make you feel any better, it will still help you in coming to terms with the reality of your situation.
Stay close to your loved ones
After the diagnosis, people normally feel a dissociation with the world around them. Letting people in at this vulnerable stage of life might be hard, but keeping your loved ones close will allow you a support system to fall back on which could aid your recovery.
You should discuss the news with your family and friends, freely express your feelings, and ask for their help in your recovery. You might feel like a burden, but reaching out for a helping hand doesn’t mean you have to feel guilty.
Your friends and family might want to help you. Asking for their help will make them feel like they’re making a difference in your life. It will also make your load less burdensome when you don’t have to do everything by yourself. With so much going on in your life, it is good to have a support system close by.
Anticipate possible body changes
Diagnosis is only the first step in your fight against cancer; once the treatment begins, you may have to encounter many changes, some with greater consequences than others.
The common side effects people often experience from pursuing cancer treatments are: hair loss, muscle loss, and pale skin. Uncontrollable changes to one's physical body often lead to high stress and negative body image.
You should learn to come to terms with these as early as possible, or look for workarounds that you can apply to cover up the flaws: like wearing a wig or applying makeup.
Aside from the changes in physical appearance, many cancer patients feel fatigued during and after treatment, leading to difficulties in performing daily tasks.
Another most commonly experienced change is the increase in depressive thoughts and anxiety. However, with anticipation and preparation, you can ensure that you cope with them more effectively.
Don’t let cancer hang over your life
Yes, getting diagnosed with cancer is extremely tragic. You shouldn’t let cancer make you into a pessimistic patient; it shouldn’t stop you from living your life. Cancer affects your life in various ways, no doubt, but it shouldn’t rob of your joy and a positive outlook.
It takes a fighting spirit to realize that you’re more than what your cancer will reduce you to; you could either live your life or succumb to misery that cancer brings with it. You can join your fellow cancer patients, survivors, or coaches to help you push past the mental obstacles that limit your growth.
Not all cancer types are terminal. Hope for recovery is always there, provided you succeed in maintaining a positive outlook and a fighting spirit. With the right information, quality treatment, a strong support network, and a resilient mindset, you can ensure greater chances of prolonging the years after diagnosis or even defeating the disease altogether.