Here are 5 of the best tips for newly diagnosed cancer patients:
- Prepare for your appointments with your medical team. Appointments with your medical team are often brief and LOTS of information is shared. Bring a notebook, write everything down. Or if you aren’t good at taking notes, bring a loved one or trusted friends. Follow the old adage: two heads are better than one. This is true for sets of ears as well. Having additional individuals there to ask questions or clarify what your medical team is telling you is always helpful.
- Take a break from the internet. We all know you are going to do internet searches at 3:00 a.m. It is normal. Everyone has done it. But is also overwhelming and often confusing. Knowledge is power, but information needs to appropriate, relevant and current. The internet can sometimes lead to confusion and additional stress. Use links and resources provided by your medical team or other trusted cancer organizations like the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org . They have done the research and have information that is accurate and trustworthy.
- Learn to ask for help. Yes! You need to ask for help. We know you don’t want to be a burden and that you can handle your own issues... You are a private person. We have heard it all. But here's the thing - your friends, family, and neighbors want to do something for you. And they will do things for you. But if you don’t give them direction, specific direction, you might end up with Tuna Noodle casserole five nights in a row. And NO ONE wants that much tuna noodle casserole!! Make lists; use online tools to communicate. We like Lotsa Helping Hands, http://lotsahelpinghands.com/how-it-works/ You will appreciate that you can maintain control of your personal life and your loved ones will still feel needed.
- Find your “Tribe”. Create your support system. A tribe is that group of people that support you unconditionally, no judging. They let you be your authentic self. That means they will love you on your good days AND on your bad days. And you will have bad days... Find the medical team member you connect with, a survivor with a similar diagnosis, and organizations like Cancer Patient Services.
- Find ways to relax. Massage. Reiki. Yoga. Meditation. All great ways to relax and reduce stress. Or maybe it is fishing, taking a walk, or watching your favorite movie. You know what you enjoy, what makes you happy, what brings you peace. Do more of that.
A cancer diagnosis is a life changing experience. But you don’t have to go through that experience alone. Cancer Patient Services is that tribe for individuals in Hancock County that have been diagnosed with cancer. Call us, message us, or come see us. We want to help you though this. CPS wants to be your “tribe”.
As part of our on-line tribe, please share your tips for a newly diagnosed cancer patients. We would love to hear what has helped you most when you first started on this journey.