Feeling overwhelmed and scared during cancer treatment is completely normal. Here are some tips to help patients conquer their fears each step of the way.
Managing Fears During Cancer Discovery and Diagnosis
You cannot hide from your cancer! It’s important that you quickly face it! Knowledge is power, so learn about the kind of cancer you have, gather the details about its stage and prognosis. Then you can move on to finding out how to take control and what you can do: What tests and treatments are available? What are the benefits and risks of each?
This information will arm you with knowledge to help you do whatever you can to be sure that you’re getting the best possible treatment, which is empowering.
Another part of easing your fears during this time can be connecting with a physician with whom you can develop confidence and trust. Your physician will guide you through the whole journey ahead of you.
You can also discover your own strengths and weaknesses, your personal beliefs as well as how others can help you and who your friends are in this challenging time.
With all this crucial information, you can take charge of your life and redirect it.
Building a Medical Plan for Cancer Treatment
The most difficult part of your journey will be at the beginning; between diagnosis and when a treatment plan is made. It’s a time of shock and great uncertainty. Simply knowing that this period is the worst can make it more bearable!
As you begin to develop your treatment plan, consider getting several opinions. It’s reassuring to hear the same options recommended by different doctors.
And once you have chosen the right physician, you can relax a little and know that your specialist will do their absolute best for you.
Managing Anxiety During Cancer Treatment Appointments
You will have to see your doctor many times. Despite their best intentions, time spent waiting can sometimes be prolonged, especially if you have multiple tests and exams scheduled on the same day. Make sure you bring a pillow, a crossword puzzle or even a laptop or a tablet if it helps you feel more comfortable. As long as you’re not so loud that you disturb other patients, the staff won’t mind these coping tools.
It’s also a good idea to write down all your questions and bring them with you to every visit. Keeping a notebook or journal can help you see just how far you’ve come since the beginning of your journey and can be a safe place to share even your scariest or angriest thoughts.
While going through your therapy, don’t get down on yourself if you do not follow every direction explicitly. You’re the one going through your individual experience and therapy. Feel free to express your wishes to your physician. If you think some courses of therapy would be too hard for you, speak up.
Cancer Treatment Testing and Waiting for Results
Throughout your therapy, there will be visits for urine and blood tests and body scans. Generally, they shouldn’t be difficult, but they can cause some anxiety. MRI scans seem to cause the most concern, but results provided by an MRI are often superior to conventional scans. Keep your eyes closed and visualize being somewhere on a beach or a place you enjoy. Practice slow and even breathing.
Your physician may also give you medication to help you relax.
Waiting for test results can also be scary. Ask your physician to call you back as soon as possible. They will be sensitive to your anxiety. If you miss that call, don’t wait multiple days to follow up on your results.
Distract yourself with activities and people that make you happy and remind yourself of how many proactive steps you’ve taken to care for yourself mentally and emotionally as well as physically.