Cancer survivor Dr. Neil Fiore shares this advice when dealing with a cancer diagnosis:
How to face the fear of diagnosis and reduce the stresses of therapy:
• Remember that "Cancer" is not a diagnosis. Ask for the specific type and stage and the treatments that are possible.
• Remember that 90% of some types of cancer are curable or held in remission.
• Reduce stress hormones by Choosing as much as you can about your treatment, your doctors, the timing of surgery and chemotherapy.
Choice is separate from “want to” or “have to” and lets your brain know that it's okay to work with your medical treatment.
How deal with feelings of stress and helplessness:
• Make yourself safe with you, regardless of what happens. Stress is a response to messages of danger and is shut off
when you decide that you are not going to make yourself feel bad--that you are safe with YOU.
• Remember to make choices and the Serenity Prayer. Stop trying to control what you can't control and focus on what you can do Now.
You will feel less helpless and frustrated and more effective by controlling what you can--your attitude and how you talk to and treat yourself.
How to establish team relationships with doctors and therapists:
• Ask questions to let your doctors know that you want to be an active member of your healthcare team. This will relax them from trying to take full responsibility for your life and your treatment decisions.
• Call on family and friends to help you get answers and to help you when you are too overwhelmed to respond to your doctor's news.
How to become an active patient and cope with the side effects of sometimes harsh treatments:
• Learn what you can about your treatment but once you've decided on a treatment focus on the positive benefits, not the negative side-effects e.g., replace "toxic" chemotherapy that will cause your hair to fall out with "powerful medicine that will kill rapidly dividing cells;" cancer cells are the most rapidly dividing followed by hair cells; therefore, loss of hair is a sign that my powerful ally is working.
How to build emotional support systems with physicians, family and friends:
• Let your doctors know that you're interested in a holistic treatment that includes your healthy body, mind and emotions.
• You, therefore, want to talk with a Nutritionist, a psychotherapist/ Medical Social Worker or Rehab therapist, and may want to join a support group.
How personal attitudes can have an enormous impact on the course of recovery:
• How you talk to yourself can lead to inner peace or stress.
• Make yourself safe with you regardless of what happens and you will shut off the stress hormones, increase the strength of your immune system, and possibly speed recovery from surgery and chemo.
see more about "Coping with the Emotional Impact of Cancer" at www.neilfiore.com and www.amazon.com