64TAB FOUR | TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF patient guide
Coping with Your Emotions
Some people believe it is easier to face the reality of a new or scary situation if they learn as much as they can about it.
This is especially true when you are dealing with a complex group of diseases like cancer. There is often a great fear of
the unknown and uncertainty about what is going to happen. Knowledge can help lessen that fear by helping you learn
more about the type of cancer you have, its treatment and your chances for recovery.
Be your own advocate. Even though people facing cancer cannot change their diagnosis, they can seek out reliable,
up-to-date information and talk to family members, friends and their health care team about their situation. Finding good
sources of support can help people with cancer take control and make informed decisions. It’s important to work
through your feelings about cancer, because how you feel can affect how you look at yourself, how you view life and what
decisions you make about treatment.
These tips can help you make your medical appointments as useful as possible:
• Make a list of questions to ask your health care team.
• Bring a family member or friend along to appointments. They can serve as an extra pair of ears, helping you remember things later and providing support.
• Ask if you can record important conversations.
• Take notes. If someone uses a word you don’t know, ask them to spell it and explain it.
• Ask your health care team to explain anything you don’t understand.
• You will not be able to change many things in your life. Focus on what you can change to gain a greater sense of control over your situation.
• One cancer survivor says that: “Daily walks and, later, running helped me keep my sanity after I was diagnosed.”
Other things you can do to deal with your emotions:
Ask for support from family, friends and others. Just having
someone who cares and will listen to you can be helpful. If
friends or family members are not able to be supportive, ﬁnd
others who will be. Health care professionals (such as social
workers, psychologists or other licensed health professionals)
and support groups can be extra sources of support.
• Get spiritual support through prayer, meditation or other practices that help you feel more at peace. You may want the guidance of a chaplain, pastor, rabbi or other religious leader.