Thursday, December 17, 2015

an open letter to a newly diagnosed cancer patient

a very nice person from the organization," cure forward", asked if i would write an open letter to a newly diagnosed cancer patient. i had planned to write a new blog on my THYROID cancer website  today, anyway. i have been hanging out on my BREAST cancer website lately, so i am overdue for a new blog here. without further ado......

dear newly diagnosed cancer patient,

you are in what  i call the OMG stage of your journey. your doctor has just dropped a bomb on your tidy little world and your head is reeling. your world as you have known it has changed forever. some things will be bad, of course, as you already know. but there are many positive things that will happen going forward. for this first stage, cry, scream, howl at the moon for a day or two. life is not fair, but i have found that trying to figure out " why me?" is  a waste of my precious time.

after you have adjusted to the news somewhat, and vented your frustrations a little, i advise that you get to work! research, research, research! read every credible thing that you possibly can about the type of cancer that you have. there will be many things on the internet that you should avoid, but there is good information available,too. i recommend sticking with the tried and true medical websites- mayo clinic, web MD,,  the american cancer society,etc. i also purchased a few books on each of my two cancers. if you do purchase some books, i would advise using amazon or some other service where you will be able to read reviews. that will save you money, as well as time. here is another piece of advice: invest in a notebook to keep all of your medical records, test results, and anything else that you can get your hands on. your tests and records belong to you! do not be afraid to ask for copies of them. i can not tell you how many times having a copy of a test or doctor's visit  has come in handy for me.

decide on the type of treatment, what physicians you will be going to, and where you will receive your treatment. for my thyroid cancer, i asked my endocrinologist to recommend a good surgeon. she recommended a surgeon that was in the same town as her practice( i drive 4 hours to see her). seeing a physician in this same town was not feasible this time. i knew that my breast cancer would be more time consuming- 3 surgeries, 12 weeks of chemo,etc. so i wanted to be closer to home. i was lucky to find a hospital that was only an hour away, and was listed as an accredited breast cancer facility. i think that you should try to get the best care possible, but travel restrictions have to be considered as well.

i hope that you have good support from family and friends! that has been so very important for me. some people have told me that i have a positive attitude, or that i am brave, but this would not be possible without the help, love and support of others. practice gratitude daily. when you are grateful for even the smallest things in your life, amazing things happen. it is true that when you send out positive energy, it comes back to you. i think that it is good for your health as well.

and speaking of your health, if you have not been eating well or exercising, now is the time! be sure to have good nutrition, especially if you will be requiring chemotherapy. if you are not sure about what foods are good for you, your doctor might be able to recommend a dietitian that could help you. it is time to say goodbye to the clown ( for the most part), and hello to the fresh fruits and vegetables department of the grocery store.

if you have been exercising regularly, you might have to scale it down a bit. i had to pack up my belly scarf and zumba shoes for a while. of course, check with your physician, but a short walk several times a week will probably make you feel better . don't get me wrong, though. i loved zumba, and i fully intend to get back to shaking my booty just as soon as i am able. it may take me a while, but it is one of my personal goals.

and speaking of personal goals, make some. look ahead to the future. cancer has a way of helping you decide what is really important in your life. none of us really have the time to waste on things that just do not matter. a cancer diagnosis can help you " cut to the chase" in your life. i will say again to surround yourself with positive, helpful people. and remember to thank everyone who has helped you. i wish you luck and good health going forward. i will leave you with my favorite quote from the hobbit, and one that i have used several times in my breast cancer blog. " so comes snow after fire. and even dragons have their endings."

good luck and best wishes,

No comments:

Post a Comment