It is more than OK to cry, scream, shout, rage. Maybe find an isolated place to do so if you can. If not, thatís fine too as long as you can let it all out again and again whenever needed.
Emotional tips for living with cancer
It is tricky how to tell people about your diagnosis. It is important to set boundaries from the beginning. You canít control the cancer, but you can control what you want to say, to whom and when or if you donít want to talk about it. Donít be afraid to tell people if you donít want to talk about your cancer.
Keep in mind that everybodyís cancer and everybodyís treatment is different and therefore patientís experiences differ greatly.
Some people said that it helped them to talk about their cancer to people who were not emotionally attached to them (complete strangers).
There are support groups around i.e. chatterbox. We giggle a lot in out get togethers but of course we all share similar experiences, and it feels good to be able to talk to others knowing they all understand because theyíve been there or are going through it right now. Itís a place where you donít have to worry about feelings you might trigger in other people i.e. we often find it a tad exhausting sharing our worries/anxiety with our family/friends because we donít want to upset our loved ones by talking about it and upsetting them further.
Now that you are a cancer patient it doesnít mean that the old Ďyouí has gone. You are still you and you are still there!
You are not alone. There are so many people out there living with cancer Ė different cancers, different stages, different treatments.
You may not be in control of your cancer, but you are in control of how to support your body and to help your mind as best you can Ė be gentle with yourself. Be your own very best friend!
Practical tips living with cancer
Here are some practical tips Chatterbox patients wanted to share with people who are newly diagnosed with cancer.
- If possible, take somebody with you to consultations to help focus on all the information given. It can also be useful to take notes during the consultation or record the consultation - ask for permission first.
- Write down any questions for your oncologist. Don't be afraid to ask questions even if you are not sure that they are relevant.
- You are entitled to your medical notes which includes the letters of your consultations.
- As a cancer patient you should be a priority at your GP practice so if you need anything make an appointment and talk to your GP.
- Get the direct contact details of your oncologist's secretary or manager for appointments and clarification with a quick response.
- Keep a diary of your symptoms/reactions to drugs and treatment.
- Chemo brain is real and may affect you in ways you would never expect.
- Start a cancer file including consultation letters, appointment letters, blood results, information etc.
- You are entitled to a free prescription card.
- Cancer patients are officially classed as disabled-this will be relevant for your employer. We recommend seeking advice to find out what your rights are before speaking to your employer.
- Speak to Macmillan or other cancer charities for info and support regarding finances/benefits, disability entitlements but also regarding complimentary treatments, they also have a lot of knowledge about treatments and side effects etc.
- Eat well, stay hydrated, rest as much as you can but also exercise regularly if you feel you can.