Being diagnosed with colon cancer can result in a range of emotions and an array of different reactions. Some initially have a feeling of disbelief. Those in denial may even think that it was just some kind of a joke. There are others who immediately fell into depression, worrying about what’s going to happen.
Despite all those mixed emotions, one thing is for sure, to have colon cancer is painful and stressful, and so are the tests, surgery, chemo, and the fear of recurrence.
“Well-meaning family and friends tell patients to ‘look on the bright side’ or ‘just be positive’ and it can be a real source of stress for [patients] when they’re not feeling that way.” Devita Streva, LISW-S says.
Struggle With Treatment
The challenges brought by treatment is incomparable to that moment when you heard you got cancer. This time, you can really say it’s for real and so is the pain and the side effects.
The next morning after my first chemo session, I feel nauseated, and then I vomit non-stop as if I want to take my gut out. For days, I had this queasy feeling that I almost don’t wanna get out of my bed. I’m not in the mood to see anyone. Not to mention the sores that pop up in my mouth days after.
After almost two weeks post chemo, I woke up seeing hair all around my bed and pillow. The sight of those hairs made me cry and feel frustrated. It seemed that I was slowly losing my life and the will to live. Every strand that falls is every bit of hope taken away from me.
I always regard my hair as my crowning glory. And it pains me a lot to know that I’m losing them because of this dreadful disease.
First, cancer take away your health, then your life, your hair, next could be your sanity.
Be Psychologically Well
Cancer does not only ruin the body. It can also destroy your spirit the moment it puts you to shame.
My oncologist recommended that I attend a support group and undergo therapy to maintain my mental wellness. It can help me become more comfortable with the disease and the situation.
Treatment has a higher probability of going well when you know you are still 50% in control. With that is the fact that you can cope with anxiety and depression. The moment you did, life will be happier.
How To Be In Control
Have A New Outlook
Taking on a new perspective on life and your colon cancer will put you in control in some aspects of your new life. Cancer could have entered your body without your permission, but it hasn’t defeated you. You still are very much alive and can do so much.
“Cognitive reframing is simply changing the way you look at a situation or think about a thought. The situation doesn’t change, but you do. Inlay terms, it means finding a way of shifting your perspective so that instead of seeing the glass half empty, you can see the glass half full.” says Lynne Eldridge, MD.
There are clinical treatment trials you can try. Who knows, it might work on you. It’s better than sulking in your room, doing nothing about your situation.
Not all who have colon cancer have the same experiences. Each has its uniqueness. Yours is different from someone in your support group. Not because one person ends up with poor prognosis means you’ll also be given a poor prognosis. Your body and health status are not on the same level, and so is your reaction to treatments.
Do Talk Therapy
Talk about what you feel when you think you need to. Don’t just keep it in. Talking it out is the best therapy. Call a friend, invite a relative, reach out to a church leader, or whoever you feel comfortable talking with. You’ll never know, the stranger sitting next to you could be the one who’s going to put a smile on your face today.
Change To A Healthier Style Of Living
Decide on a drastic lifestyle change. You need to take care more of your body now. Be aware that you need more rest, nutritious food, active social life and other healthy activities, and of course a “me time.”
Try Other Forms Of Therapy For Mental Wellness
There are various therapies you can try to boost your mental health. Laughter therapy, energy therapy, stress management intervention, CBT, meditation, and more are proven effective in assisting cancer patients in handling their emotional distress.
“Investigators explain that patients diagnosed and treated for a long-term potentially fatal disease, such as cancer, can accumulate distressing and traumatic experiences along the way. For some cancer survivors, the memories and physical effects of their experience can last long after their final treatments.” says Rick Nauert PhD.
Cancer Is Giving Us A Second Chance
I thought having colon cancer is the end, but it’s not. In fact, it signaled a new beginning for me. My wakeup call to start living the life I want. It’s another chance to spend more time with my family and friends. I travel as much as I could, laugh with people, do good, and do the job not anymore because of the high pay, but because I love doing it. I never waste any moment. I live each day as if it was my last.
In short, cancer has given me a second chance to live, to enjoy it to the fullest by living in the now. I’m hopeful I’ll still be here tomorrow, but I don’t wait for another day to check one item on my bucket list. I’m lucky to be still given a chance to do the things I should have done long ago before I leave this earth.