Cancer patients and their families deal with many stresses along the cancer journey, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. They wrestle with the cancer invader, their piece of mind under attack. How do they cope? They maneuver through the grief and question how to restructure their lives. Stress has everyone on pins and needles wondering what the patient’s outcome will be. Some relationships grow stronger and some fall apart.
As a patient, I found the cancer experience to be so much more taxing mentally and emotionally (and every way) than I knew as a nurse. I had to cope with horrendous nausea and vomiting, debilitating fatigue, being on disability, moving and more. Grief bombarded me and I questioned how I was going to deal with my illness. I tried to cope in positive ways: writing in a journal, praying, and painting. These things all helped but I still experienced bouts of depression, cried buckets of tears, and was overwhelmed with bursts of anxiety. Until one day, I decided I’d look at my situation as an adventure. Not good or bad, but as another life adventure. This shift in my thinking helped me balance the weight and heaviness I felt emotional and mentally. I was coping with cancer in a different way.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have.” Unknown