Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells-any cells-in the body. The foods we eat, our genetic makeup and the environment we've been exposed to all impact your risk of developing cancer.
HOW IS CANCER TREATED?
Treatment of most cancers requires several approaches. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatment may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or some combination of all three. The success of any treatment is related to the overall health of the survivor. A positive attitude, a sense of humor, courage, having a support system of friends and family and many other factors can have a tremendous impact on your healing and happiness.
Though it is very common to pose the question "Why me?" (as almost every newly diagnosed cancer patient does), there is not exact answer. Individually, each patient must seek out answers to his or her own personal satisfaction. Asking the question "Why me?" is a normal response to grief about cancer, and it is the beginning of healing. According to experts, grief has six stages. As we work through our grief, we move through these stages. And as the word stage implies, we may be in more than one grief stage at a time or we may move in and out of these stages in different orders, depending upon how we work through our grief. Eventually, as we heal, we reach acceptance, which allows us to move forward with our lives. Here's a quick overview of the grief stages as they may relate to cancer:
Shock and Denial. To protect us, our brains use shock, numbness and denial to cope with the traumas we experience, whether the traumas are physical or emotional. And for many, a cancer diagnosis is trauma. During this stage, denying the diagnosis of cancer is common. You may feel as though the diagnosis is a bad dream from which you will awaken and realize isn't true. You may go about your daily routine in a very surreal or disconnected way.
Bargaining. When physical or emotional pain becomes unbearable, engaging in some form of negotiation is typical. Consciously or unconsciously, you may try to negotiate with a higher power, your spouse, your friend, your doctor or whomever you see as being able to help cure cancer and rectify the potential outcome. Bargaining is really an attempt postpone your grief.
Anger. You may become angry about cancer-angry with yourself, family members, doctors and even the world. You may play out your anger as hurt, frustration, fear, helplessness or guilt. Thee reasons and targets of anger are as unique as the individuals dealing with them. You may even surprise yourself with your rage. To help you cope ask others to listen to how angry you feel about cancer.
Guilt. You may blame yourself or others and often may feel helplessly guilty about a cancer diagnosis. You may say to yourself or others, "If only I had or hadn't done this." Or you may think, "What could I have done to prevent cancer?" Unfortunately, there may be nothing you can do or could have done to prevent or change a cancer diagnosis.
Depression. A sense of helplessness and the reality of a cancer diagnosis sinks in deeply and you feel depressed. Symptoms of depression often include loss of appetite, feelings of worthlessness, an inability to enjoy anything, insomnia or difficulty concentrating and making decisions. If depression is lasting a long time, you may want to speak about how you feel with a caring friend, or go to a mental health professional if you feel that's the care you need.
Acceptance. One day, you notice that sun is shining and you have more good days than bad. You have hope, and you can begin to enjoy life again. At first, acceptance can be so subtle that you may not even recognize it. With time, you realize that there is life with cancer and, hopefully, life after cancer.
As you work through the stages of grief, recognizing and talking about your feelings is healthy, regardless of which stage you're in. Talking to others about how you feel is key to healing. And as you heal and accept cancer, you can begin to move on.
Note ~ It's funny (not in a funny kind of way), I am sitting here trying to think what day it was we found out my husband has Cancer (I believe it was Monday). We don't know what kind as of yet... there will be a biopsy this coming Tuesday and then we will have to wait again. It has been the longest week ~ weekend ~ and now ~ more waiting.