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AFTER /// CHAPTER 86
5. Rehearse your Coping. Sometimes it can feel impossible
to bring your attention back to the present moment as
you anticipate scans and results. If you think you can
complete this exercise to completion, then give it a try,
but if not, then this strategy is probably one to avoid.
This strategy involves imagining going in for your scan
and coping well with anxiety. You can also visualize
yourself in your doctor's office receiving results of scans
with multiple outcomes, and then imagine yourself again
coping well with different results. " Coping well " does not
mean that you don't have challenging emotions, but rather
that you imagine yourself experiencing tough emotions,
but being able to cope with them. Maybe you speak
encouraging words to yourself during that visualization
like, " You have done it before, you can do it again. "
6. Seek Help. If you find yourself unraveling during this time
or are afraid you may engage in harmful behavior that
has negative consequences, then seek professional help
immediately. Speak with a mental health professional or
your oncologist-they can provide support during this time.
Fear of recurrence: It is common to worry that your cancer might come back. Although
this feeling is normal, it can still be hard to cope with. You may have anxiety surrounding
doctor appointments, procedures and any random symptoms you exhibit at any time. The
phrase " it's probably just a cold " takes on a whole new meaning. For some people, the
fear is so strong that it might impact your ability to enjoy life, make long-term plans or
continue with follow-up treatments.
It can be really exhausting to act as if you are fine all the time. You may have " bad "
days when you feel down, sad and alone. Be kind to yourself and try to accept and work
through your feelings rather than ignoring them.
Focus on what you can control to stay healthy and reduce your risk of recurrence:
» Keep your health insurance
» Keep your follow up visits and follow doctor's orders for testing as necessary
» Eat healthy, manage your weight and exercise
» Be your own advocate - you know your body best. If you notice something is wrong or different, bring it to you doctor's
attention and be persistent.
» Check the facts. Be sure to consider all relevant information when making conclusions about risk for recurrence. Anxiety
often stops us from seeing reality and the entire picture.
» Stay informed of all things having to do with your health and resources available to you
» Get support - express those feelings to a friend, loved one or a counselor. This can help you feel less worried.
You may never completely forget your cancer
experience. But it is likely that you will think
about your cancer less and less over time.
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What Do I Do Now?

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of What Do I Do Now?

Contents
What Do I Do Now? - 1
What Do I Do Now? - Contents
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