When we learned that I have anal cancer, I felt my heart stop for some time, and my brain was rewinding my life events as if I was watching it in a movie theater. According to Dorina Stern, LMFT, “Shock is a sudden and often intense disturbance of your emotional state that may leave you feeling stunned or dazed.” I turned to my wife who was seated next to me, and I was expecting to see her eyes drenched with tears. But lo and behold, she sat there looking at the doctor and listening intently with no trace of sadness and disbelief on her face. She spoke with a commanding tone as if she was about to close a considerable business venture. When she looked at me and said, “We’ll get through this. Trust me”, it was there that I came to my senses that I need to be strong.
Knowing that I have this dreadful disease brings agony and perilous thoughts of death or end of life. But my wife, being a strong person, sustained a positive outlook in our family concerning my battle with cancer. Here’s a simple list of what we have experienced by far.
Accepting and embracing your condition is the most challenging phase, but overcoming it will make things easier. The moment you started to accept that cancer is in you, and you will start to have a better disposition in life. Without proper acceptance of the condition, it will be difficult for you to undergo treatment and counseling. According to Justin LaPilusa, PsyD, “Acceptance is the ability to allow internal and external experience to occur instead of fighting or avoiding the experience.”
Having doubts? Seek The Second Opinion
Even with the advancement of technology, a margin of error might have made the diagnosis. If diagnosed with harboring a disorder one must at least seek for a second opinion to validate whether the findings of the first physician are conclusive and will confirm the illness. On the other hand, asking for a second opinion will allow you to explore possible alternative treatments. In our case, we went to 5 oncologists. Unfortunately, they were all right, and we decided to accept their medical opinions and started with treatment instantly.
It’s Ok To Feel Afraid
Venting out that we are afraid doesn’t mean that we are weak, but instead, it allows us to bring out our real feelings and understanding towards cancer. It’s normal to feel afraid, expressing fear will help you release stress, and it will allow others to comfort you. According to Simon A. Rego, PsyD. “Fear is healthy. It gives you an evolutionary advantage.”
Find Your Circle
Having support groups can aid an individual to deal with cancer for it is the most critical part of it, knowing that you have someone that you can run into, stay with you as you undergo the process of changes is it caused by the illness or the course of medication. This will make you feel, that you are not alone in this battle. I am very fortunate that I have my wife with me all the time, my two daughters, and the rest of my family and friends who are always willing to help and offer what they can.
Find your inner peace.
Finding your inner peace will allow you to stay focus and determined. Remembering past events in your life will enable you to look back to both the bad and good things in your life. This will make you appreciate the value of life and how important it is to live it to the fullest.
Understand That The End Is Just The Beginning.
Most of us perceive that a person who has cancer will eventually die, that having it marks the end of everything. But the truth is, cancer is just the beginning of life because it is the time wherein you will realize how important it is to spend time with the people you love. It is the time that you will appreciate the beauty of life. Ironic it may seem, but that’s how life rolls, the moment you feel it’s about time, that’s the time you start living your life to the fullest.
Remember, Que Sera Sera!
Let it be a constant reminder that no one knows what tomorrow brings, that whatever will be, will be because everything on earth is temporary and might be gone in a snap of time. Battling with cancer allows you to prepare yourself in all aspects; it gives you the chance to make up for your shortcomings. Whether you survive or fall for it, understanding that death is not the end of life, but rather the start of an everlasting journey bound to the heavenly place to where life has no end. Having cancer is like a difficult test to take or a bitter pill to swallow, but as we face it each day of our lives we must remember that this too shall pass, we just must keep going.
I don’t know if I can survive this or not. But I am thankful that my wife is my pillar of strength and my guiding star. Always telling me not to give up until the end.