How To Cope With Cancer
I think maybe I am the wrong person to be writing this article. You see, I’m not the one with the cancer. I sometimes feel the pain, because my mother is the one with the cancer, and I feel for her so much that I feel it with her. I hold her head and cry along with her. You see, I’m her full time caregiver. I’m right alongside her, through thick and thin, good and bad. Maybe she should be the one writing this article. Since I’m the one writing it, I guess I’ll tell you best, what I feel the answers are.
First, I will give you a quick run down on what our scenario has been like. My mom found out six years ago, that the dreaded word (cancer) her diagnosis. She thought she had pneumonia, but it turned out to be lung cancer. She spent almost three months in the hospital, and they told us then, that she would not make it out of the hospital alive. It would almost surely kill her, it was so agressive. They started radiation, and chemotherapy. A year later she was in remission.
Now, five years later, the cancer is back with a vengeance. She has three tumors in her lungs, two on one side an one on the other. They are small, but the cancer is the same kind, the agressive kind. We are afraid to say the words aloud, but secretly afraid the cancer is going to win the battle this time. She is 72 years old, and losing strength fast. The chemothreapy is rough on her. So, that’s where we stand now.
How do we cope? Well, the main way is taking it ONE DAY AT A TIME! I can’t stress this enough. If you look at the big picture in a whole, it will get you depressed. You will lose hope. The biggest thing you can never do is lose hope. If you lose hope you will lose the will to fight. NEVER lose the will to fight. Take each day as it comes, and remember with each sunrise, it’s a new day to live and breathe.
If you are a caregiver, remember to take care of yourself. Don’t forget to take those breaks and little rest periods for YOU. You have to have that time to recoup or you will get sick yourself. Believe me, I KNOW! My nerves have been so frazzled at times I thought they’d break, till I realized that I had to learn to cope. Once I learned coping skills it was a lot easier. I had to learn to relax and take it easy. I had to learn to take care of myself. Now, I get my ex husband to watch my mom, while my daughter and I go to the movies once a week. We go to the library and get books out. Those little trips out are great, it’s a stress breaker for us.
Find support groups to help you cope. There are a lot of them out there. You can get information from the American Cancer Society at http://www.cancer.org which is a big start. They can point you in the right direction to a lot of support groups in your area. Also Gilda’s Club is a big one for any type of cancer. They have meetings all over the country. http://www.gildasclub.org You can also call your local hospitals for listings of support meetings or groups in your area.
Your oncologist is another source of information for coping. If it is medication you need to help you cope, he can help. If you are having problems with nausea and vomiting, he can give you something, fatigue can be overcome also. Don’t hesitate to talk to him about any problem that may arise. Depression is common also. Talk to him about any concerns you may have. He is there for you through this whole ordeal. Most of the oncologists are angels in disguise. I know my moms oncologist is. He’s the sweetest guy I’ve ever met. He treats every one of his patients with utmost kindness.
The last item to remember, you are NEVER alone in this battle. Whether you are a caregiver, or the victim of Cancer, you are not alone in this battle. You have declared WAR on those cancer cells, and it’s going to be a battle till death, either yours or theirs, and we hope it is theirs. It is never an easy battle. Keep your spirits up. There are people there for you all the way. People who are willing to laugh with you, cry with you, share with you in every way, all along the way.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone wants comfort or help in coping. I’m always here for cancer patients or caregivers for support or a word of comfort. Here’s hoping all your tomorrows are sunny and painfree.