First off, I am SO incredibly sorry that you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. It will be a journey. A tough one. One that doesn’t end for years. But one that will make you stronger as a person; more compassionate, more able to “be in the now,” and you’ll likely learn something about yourself that you didn’t know.

The NUMBER ONE (as in, this is what I heard from every doctor and nurse I came across) way to help yourself is to check your attitude. Be optimistic. There’s scientific evidence that the way we think can absolutely affect our biology. (And OF COURSE you can have a pity party, and scream, and cry, and feel the emotions of this terrifying disease. But then take a few deep breaths and carry on.)

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

― Carlos Castaneda –

Now, it’s time to call the tribe to gather. Because you can’t and shouldn’t do this alone.

I hope you have as much support available to you as I did. If you don’t, there are organizations who can help you find resources. If you do, this is where you can mobilize your friends and family, so they feel like they’re doing something. (Everyone is going feel helpless; this helps them feel less so.)

  1. Pick up “Anticancer, A New Way of Life” by David Servan-Schreiber, a cancer researcher, cancer physician, and cancer survivor. He gives great (and scientifically-based) information on things you can change to help reduce cancer growth. (And let me tell you, I’m still trying to implement things over a year having read the book. So don’t overwhelm yourself. One step at a time.)
  2. If you want to share your journey, consider creating a blog. It’s super easy to do on any number of platforms. This allows you to disseminate information to many people at once instead of having to have the same conversation over and over again. That alone makes it worth it.
  3. Rally the troops! I used a free scheduling software to allow people to sign up to drive me to chemo appointments, doctor visits, etc. You could even put a weekly “friend visit” on there that ensures you get to hang out with someone at least once a week.
  4. It’s okay to cancel on anything last minute, to stay in bed all day, to do whatever you want. This time is about focusing on you and getting better. So take care of yourself.

PS: I high recommend medical marijuana if that’s an option in your state and you’ll be on chemotherapy. That was a life saver for my nausea during treatment. (And you don’t have to smoke, you can eat candy!)

You can do this.