Emotional effects of cancer
I’ve written this section in the hope of helping us all to understand, and clarify the emotional effects of cancer. Please remember if you are finding it difficult to cope, seek professional help as soon as possible. We know emotions can snowball very quickly, cancer is a devastating blow even to the toughest of people and there is no shame whatsoever in seeking help. We are all in the same boat and it is very much a need to feel loved and supported at this time.
Not all of the information is relevant to you so read the parts that interest you and your personal situation.
It is completely normal to feel an array of emotions when dealt the cancer card. The word itself is enough to completely throw you, but it is a comfort to know that many cancers today can be curable and controlled; it isn’t the death sentence that it used to be thankfully.
Some of the most common reactions are:
Fear, anger, shock, loss of control, denial, sorrow, guilt, withdrawal (to label a few).
There is no set formula to these emotions or no right or wrong way to feel, everybody is different.
I remember my first question was “Will I lose my hair”? You’d think I might have more pressing issues? Like “Can it kill me?”, but no, Olive was more worried about her hair (though I’ve since been informed that I am not alone with asking this question, as it is a very common first question from women, who knew??!!!).
Some physical effects:
Lack of appetite, nausea, lump in throat, dry mouth, hyperventilating, sweating, shivering, hot flushes, rapid heartbeat, tension from head to toe, sleeping problems and headaches.
The dreaded emotion of depression is nothing to be embarrassed about. There are lots of services that will help you cope with your new diagnosis. The most important thing for you is to speak up if your finding it hard to cope and deal with depression. There are signs to be aware of when identifying depression, here are some examples: low moods, loss of appetite and sleep, no motivation and change in sleeping patterns.
There is no magic wand, unfortunately, and if there is please let us all know. I certainly want a slice of that pie as I don’t have a crumb of any hidden, proven formula. I live my life by the 3 p’s; positive attitude, prayer and people.
Your emotional wellbeing is every bit as important as your physical well being.
● Stop and relax before you feel overtired.
● Identify a rest time each day.
● Accept any form of help eg: housework, childcare, shopping etc.
● Reserve energy for the things you most enjoy.
● Spend as much time as possible with the ones you love.
● Be grateful for everything.
● Stay clear of all negative people and situations, they are literally poison to you and your situation.