You May Call Us Superheroes But We Also Have Bad Days

We also have our bad days.
We also have our bad days.

Have you read my previous article yet? Yes, this article that was published in I Had Cancer community. There wasn’t any single moment that I wish I will stop talking about cancer. I hope you got it and I am able to help you to understand.

Well, hello again, call me Cielo (in case you missed to remember my name) and I fought cancer, that’s my superpower. I am one of the superheroes who beat cancer.

I am writing this article to say what I exactly feel. That – even superheroes have bad days. Are you familiar with this line? You guys must have watched the most awaited movie of the year, The Avengers. Yeah, I love those superheroes, too! But, that line is not inspired by these supercool superheroes. To be honest, I got this line from the storytime with my preschool kids today. It’s lovely how we teach children about life skills that adults are supposed to know, too, but we teach them in a fun and comical way (will adults would love the same way of learning like children do?).

Let me share some of the lines from the story that mean so much to me as a person who survives the death of cancer.

When superheroes don’t get their way, when they’re sad, when they’re mad, when they have a bad day…

…they could use their superpowers to kick, punch, and pound. They could shriek-they could screech with an ear-piercing sound (sounds annoying if I could imagine).”

But upset superheroes have all sorts of choices… Instead of destruction and loud, livid voices… Instead, they dig down to their super-best part, the strong super-powers contained in their heart!

And using their talents as true heroes should, they battle the urge to do harm (though they could). They acknowledge their sorrow, their anger, their pain, as they wait for their super-emotions to wane (Uhmm… namaste!)”

It’s okay if they frown. It’s okay if they sigh. It’s okay if they slump down and cry (boohoo!!!) BUT THEN they get up and get on with their day…

…saving the world in their most super way.

It’s easy to take pity on someone you know got cancer but we don’t really need your pity. As we beat cancer’s plot to execute us, we would like to take pride in as a part of this big community that beats this deadly disease. Just imagine how we escape death, it also means we escape from being stuck of being afraid and uncertain. And that’s one of the things we are proud for!

But, we are still the same human beings after we beat cancer. We have our bad days, too. But we try not to take advantage of being someone used to be a victim of cancer and look for sympathy. So, whenever we feel upset, a bit sick, sad, mad or like breaking down and wanted to cry hard, we also do our best not to give worries to someone who loves us. Until then, we are sure that our emotions are grounded again, we get up, show up and save our little world with the people who love us in our most super way!

I know that this article is all about cancer survivors. But, hey! You don’t need to have cancer to be a superhero. You don’t need to have cancer to call yourself a survivor. Whatever life’s circumstances and choices you have now, you just only need to save yourself like what every survivor do. There’s no prince charming in every life’s story or knight in a shining armor, there’s no rescue boat and no one’s coming to save you. You have to stop waiting you get picked and continue to push forward to not give up (Reworded as I was inspired by this video).

Does this article resonate with you? Share your thoughts, leave a comment below!

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

We’re Feeling Feelings Every Day

The feeling may be fleeting. Here's one second then it's gone.
The feeling may be fleeting. Here’s one second then it’s gone.

It’s just the way that you’re feeling now. It might just change somehow.

So, I was inspired today to write this article about feelings. After publishing two more interviews recently, I always think to offset from one blog to another. Like after writing a kind of downcast personal story, another lighthearted article must follow. I don’t want my audience to feel so abounding by keep bringing out survivors’ story.

So how did I come up with this topic? I was in the middle of my class with my preschool students and played a YouTube video about emotions. I was caught up between the lyrics of the song, which of course I am gonna share some parts of the lyrics with you.

I’m happy, she’s mad.
I’m a boy, she’s a girl.
And this is the world.
I’m hungry, he’s thirsty.
I’m sick, and he’s tired.
He’s a boy, I’m a girl.
And this is the world.

You get happy, you get sad.
You get angry, you get mad.
You go to bed, then you wake up.
You might be just OK.
It’s just the way that you’re feeling now.
Wait a while.
It might just change somehow.

It’s just the way that you’re feeling.
The feeling may be fleeting.
Here’s one second then it’s gone.
We’re feeling feelings every day.
We’re experiencing emotions along the way.
Some are good and some are bad.
Some wish you never had.

But, hey!
That’s just the way we’ve got to play.

If all of us could realize, how amazing the ability of the children to extend their hope to every adult, their happiness, and their potential to adapt to change with ease. These children have the desire to live, to know and they are the perfect example of daily entertainment.

As a preschool teacher, I had witnessed how my adorable kids in the classroom manage to alter a negative feeling into a positive one. When someone gets angry, a simple hug could easily relieve their feelings. There are so many lessons to learn from them, if you just could realize this, you might wish to go back to being a little more like them!

I list down some keen observation about my preschool students for a year that we are together:

  1. None of them are afraid of new happenings.
    Have you ever felt sorry about the things that you are supposed to do but never did it ever? Don’t let yourself get caught with the phrase “what if…”. It’s always better to regret what you’ve done than what you haven’t done. It’s always better to fail than to doubt.
  2. They are always curious.
    Newton was curious and discovered gravity. Well, we don’t have to be like Newton, though. But being curious about learning new things like the children do leads towards self-fulfillment. Discovering new places to visit is one, for example.
  3. Carpe Diem!
    In other words, seize the day! Children don’t let the moment slip away; instead, they take advantage of each moment.
    Take advantage of the good times, the bad ones will change somehow. The next day will be fine. Live, enjoy and take advantage of your time!
    When you are sick or lost a loved one, you might notice how much time you took for granted. Everything is moving quickly and we should be aware of that.
  4. They love fearlessly.
    The older we get, the more scared we are to fall in love. Well, maybe for some reasons, we need to consider that our emotions as an adult always comes along with a responsibility.
    But, why are we so afraid of love? For children, they simply love, there’s nothing more to it. They never think of tomorrow that their friends at school will be just simply a memory when they become adult. They just what they have today!
    To be in love or to love is one of the most beautiful things in life, but sometimes, we are afraid of rejection, suffering or betrayal. And we never realize that everything passes even the rejection, suffering and betrayal. But when you are happy with being in love, no one can take that away from you.
  5. They can easily adapt to change.
    A new student came in our class recently and eventually, everything went okay. Children are really expert in embracing change. Isn’t it “change” always restore and improve our life?
  6. They don’t worry about what others think or say.
    While the young children are not bothered what others think or say, adults are too sensible of the people that surround them. We never think what we want, listen to our heart and act according to how we are.
  7. They always get excited.
    Children never stop getting excited about things and experiences that they have every day. Sadly, when they grow up, this tends to change. What if we never stop getting excited like a child over a new career, new love, a new friendship, your achievements (no matter how big or small it is), or the little things that happen every day.
  8. They know what fun is and they have FUN.
    Forget all the fears and prejudgment of what your negative thoughts tell you or other people will say about you. Fun is fun! Children enjoy themselves, laugh as hard as they could and have fun because they don’t mind what other people will say about them, even their teachers in the classroom – really (I’m smirking now…well)!
  9. They express themselves honestly.
    We often don’t speak freely, that is why sometimes other people get depressed. We are afraid of being rejected, our words or ideas will be turned down. We instead choose what to say what other people wanted to hear until we ended up not feeling good inside.
    Like a child, it is liberating to express oneself honestly.
  10. They don’t know everything.
    As we all know that children are curious because they simply don’t know everything.
    For adults, whether someone as a CEO, a teacher or even a parent, acknowledging of being naive in some sort of things actually makes your personal relationship stronger to other people where you can spend time listening and also improves your performance in whatever field you are working because you always want to learn and to improve.
  11. They ask random questions and never felt afraid or embarrassed.
    Sometimes we are afraid to ask questions because someone will criticize us, call us stupid or ignorant. But, not really! Asking question to other people shows humbleness and willingness to learn. So, go ahead, ask some questions!
  12. They are RELAXED! They don’t force things.
    The last but not the least, are you sometimes wondering why do these children seem so relaxed?
    When children are tired, they sleep, everywhere. Sounds easy for them right? But too complicated for us. We tend to force things and ended up suffering with chronic stress. Just take a breath, there are things that cannot be controlled nor how people react to the things you do.As an author of this blog, I try to keep all the articles as positive as I could. It doesn’t matter to me how my articles will be well-accepted by everyone, what matters to me is, how I create a positive impact on my audience. And to be honest, I am not quite sure, too if I could follow these observations I got from my kids at school. But, why not? Let’s be a child again and never lose our passion to live life and enjoy!

**This article is simply based on what I had observed from my preschool students. I disclaim that as an adult, life will be as perfect as a child. This is just a recommendation and reminder while you are yet or now feeling gloomy or hopeless. Hope it does help.

How does this article resonate with you? Share your thoughts, leave a comment below!

Photo courtesy of Lesly Juarez on Unsplash.com.

Myxoid Liposarcoma – The Battle I Didn’t Choose

Beri, High Grade Myxoid Liposarcoma with Round Cell on Right Thigh
Beri, High-grade Myxoid Liposarcoma with Round Cell on Right Thigh

“This I tell you – having cancer could never be easy and I know that every cancer patient knows this.

Until today, I’m still coping. There are good and not so good days.

But each day I’m learning to let go all the worries and negative thoughts that will not do any good to me.”

Continue reading Myxoid Liposarcoma – The Battle I Didn’t Choose

The Exceptional, Brave Cancer Warrior

Mich Herreros - diagnosed with Liposarcoma, a cancer survivor.
Mich Herreros – diagnosed with Liposarcoma, a cancer survivor.

Continue reading The Exceptional, Brave Cancer Warrior

The Distinctly Positive Sarcoma Cancer Warrior

Zimon, Myxoid Sarcoma Survivor
Zimon, Myxoid Sarcoma Survivor

Continue reading The Distinctly Positive Sarcoma Cancer Warrior

How Can A Distraction Manage A Chronic Pain For A Cancer Survivor?

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Tien has shown a fervent strength despite the extreme pain she felt right after her 2nd surgery.

This is a personal story of one of the people who are close to me and just recently had her 2nd surgery. Her recovery is still in progress but we had noticed a remarkable progression from her.

You don’t know how strong this lady is. I salute her braveness despite the agonizing pain she felt for months. As I remember, after her 2nd surgery, she decided not to stay in her house and rest; instead, she jumped into the bus and traveled with us to one of the towns not really far from Saigon. That was not easy though, she felt dizzy, vomited and caught with a fever the day after. But, hey! That was just for days! Even that experience was not really nice if you try to imagine, but now she is gradually recovering, and the most noticeable recovery is – she did not feel the same pain anymore.

I am not talking that there is a miracle happened behind that sudden disappearance of her pain. There’s none. The pain that she felt during those days is actually normal and will eventually get better as the wound inside heals. Unfortunately, this pain sometimes last for months and for some people, it lasts a year. The pain she felt during those times is different from the pain I felt during the course of my treatment 2 years ago. And I could not really give an accurate personal judgment and compare her pain to mine even we were on the same journey.

The pain that I am actually talking is a severe pain where she can hardly breathe and keep losing weight every day. Afraid that her cancer is metastasized, so we decided to make a new appointment to a new doctor and one of the doctors we met ordered a blood test and assured us that there is no metastatic sign seen in her blood. We are not contented with this result as Tien still felt the same pain and it even gets worst and even us could not understand her anymore. Even herself could not understand why she feels that kind of pain. Sometimes, I don’t want to keep asking her the same question, how she is doing, because she still gives the same answer, “I feel pain”.

After many visits we did with different doctors in Saigon, different tests she has to take to understand the pain she felt inside, why she continuously losing weight – still, we have not acquired the answer we are demanding. Despite the daily suffering she felt, she was more than willing to live a new normal life.

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A meeting with Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor.
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A pulse diagnosis is like the “MRI” of traditional medical system.
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Another meeting with a Thyroid Oncologist.

Now here comes an “alternative therapy” which actually works for Tien during her recovery stage. Distraction draws a patient into a highly interesting activity to take his or her mind off pain or discomfort.* This is only effective for a patient who is experiencing pain but it does not cure cancer. When a patient is engaged in an interesting activity, it allows its mind being distracted by unpleasant thoughts or pain that can help the patient feel better.

The following are suggested activities and therapies can provide a distraction that might work well for every cancer patient:

  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Dance therapy
  • Imagery
  • Stories
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Virtual reality and computer games
  • Doing needlework or puzzles
  • Building models or painting
  • Watching TV

So, what are the activities Tien did that provide a distraction?

  1. Talk with friends and family
  2. Read books or articles online
  3. Listen to uplifting music (sometimes we go Karaoke)
  4. Go outside (she usually does this by herself, take a walk in the park)
  5. Take care of animals (there are 2 cats living at home, so whenever she is alone at home she feed and pet the cats)
  6. Travel (she usually travels with is in one of the towns outside Saigon)

These activities Tien did, are done at a slow pace, we still do encourage her not to force herself as she is still recovering. But her spirit showed the willingness to live a new normal life and recover completely. At the moment, Tien is inspired to do her job again as a freelance graphic and web designer. And in the future, she aims to visit her oncology doctor again to have another test done to make sure that there is no another cancer cell growing inside her body.

**This blog is not intended to give a professional medical advice. It is best to always seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner whatever medical condition you may or your loved ones have at the moment. Some medical accounts mentioned in this article are made from a careful research of the author, personal experiences shared from those who have similar cases like Tien, and a doctor’s prior validation what cause this pain to inflict her every day.

*Source: Distraction, Health Encyclopedia, University of Rochester Medical Center.

Photo courtesy of the owner.

Connecting With Peer Survivors Can Help Others Manage Their Cancer Battle

December 2017, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Cielo finally met Beri for the first time, both are Sarcoma survivors.

In today’s world where everyone is connected yet, not connecting. Technology has made our world closer, smaller and more connected; however, we are losing the art of real communication. People are afraid of connecting with someone with real conversation, and I would like to imagine, too, how much more for a person who has just diagnosed with cancer.

For a cancer survivor like me, I had learned the importance of sharing my experiences with people I met in person or on social media. With my experience, the more I share my story with other people, the more I find myself healed. And in exchange for this, my stories also heal someone else. I love to tell my healing journey because it is so liberating to do so. Telling my story may take a lot of courage. But, by doing this, I also give other people permission to acknowledge their own story.

I met hundreds and thousands of patients and survivors for 2 years while I continue my healing journey and recovery from cancer. I received different responses from these people I met on how they are able to find strength and support to face the battle caused by cancer.

For the Vietnamese families I met and interacted with, I may not receive direct answers from them because of a language barrier, the important thing is, you are there to listen sympathetically.

In one of my visits in Ho Chi Minh City Oncology Hospital, I saw different struggles of each and everyone who has been staying in the hospital for weeks or even for months. As I stand in one of the corners of the room, observing their silence, and realizing that that silence was too loud. Each time I look into their eyes, I hear the need to win this fight against cancer and the hope that the child they love will be healed.

How I am able to talk to these different people? I have to listen first. Whether the person who is talking in front of me talking a different language that I could not understand, I still listen, attentively. I let them talk until they pour everything what is inside that has been keeping for too long. They may be doing this to every stranger who is willing to listen; for all that, an intimate talk is necessary, for their battles with cancer never changes, it becomes a constant burden.

December 2017, I was given a chance to meet a peer survivor for the first time. Beri was also a Leiomyosarcoma survivor like me. It’s funny that we have the same site of the incision where the tumor was removed. Of course, we are too excited to show our scar to each other and started to talk how the tumor (lump) starts growing and ended up with different kinds of discussion. Our talk becomes heart-to-heart and we did not waste our limited time to get to know each other. Beri stayed in Vietnam for days but our connection remained low-key even on social media. Yes, we don’t need to chat all the time, but when the time comes that we have important or special things to talk about, we are still excited to start our dialogues.

Different connections, different way to be connected with people who have undergone cancer battle. How this connection can really be helpful managing their own struggle with cancer? If you ask me, with my different experiences of involvement in a various cancer community online, I also share what other survivors had presented to me.

To be connected to a peer survivor or community it can help someone to:

  1. Get information out from different personal experiences about their cancer and treatment.
  2. Gain support and motivation from others who experienced and found hope.
  3. Be inspired by various personal survival stories.
  4. Realize that many survivors have similar stories and experiences.
  5. Be in control of the difficult situation.
  6. Learn how to talk to everyone with no fear.
  7. Deal about the future with courage.

No one can do this alone. No one fights cancer alone. Everyone needs a support. Everyone needs to hear this. Everyone needs someone who can listen with compassion.

Let’s get more connected. As The Cancer Voice community is gradually building a stronger and closer relationship with people who silently fighting cancer every day, we are here to keep in touch and post future updates. You only need to listen, give a positive influence and a source of inspiration to them; in return, myself and the rest of the people who is involved in building this community is promising to give you more positive stories as much as we could.

Photo courtesy of the owner.

Why It Is Important To Give Healthy Foods To A Cancer Patient?

The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. ~Ann Wigmore

Things we ought to know why appropriate diet is very important to anyone who has cancer before and after treatment. This is not only true because Google says so, it is true to give any cancer patient a right diet because I also went through the same process during my treatment.

I write this blog out from my observations as I visited one of the cancer hospitals in Saigon, Vietnam. And even during my surgical removal last February 2016, I noticed that there is no dietary department in the hospital where I was admitted. Two years after my treatment was done, I was able to get a chance to be connected with the children who have cancer, months later after I started my blog.

It is vital to know and learn especially to the family who is taking care a loved one who is battling cancer the right nutrition in cancer care*. They must know these following details:

  • Good nutrition is important for cancer patients. We are all aware that good nutrition is important for good health. Sometimes, we are too careless and too bragging while we still have good health until we acquire one serious illness that will make us consider to change our diet. How much more in people who have cancer?
    Consuming a proper diet before, during and after cancer can help them feel better and stay stronger. For instance, SUGAR; for an average person, too much consumption of sugar will actually make you tired. We all thought that if we give our body as much sugar as we need, it will give us enough strength throughout the day. Yes, this is very helpful to many athletes if they are into competitions, but, what I am talking is, excessive sugar consumption that is already part of the daily eating habit is likely to affect to our health badly. A proverb that remained the same until now, “too much of anything is bad”, and for those who take care a loved one or friend that has cancer, we just need them to feel better and remain strong as they keep winning this battle against cancer.
    Maybe, the next time we will give food to someone who has cancer, we can consider which food we are supposed to give. We can also ask professional practitioners who are expert in dietary field or even a smart research on Google might give us ideas on which kind of healthy foods to give next time.
  • Healthy eating habits are important during and after cancer treatment. It’s never too late to change a habit. Much more to shape a habit of children especially in eating habit. For most cancer patients, it must be always remembered that they need to keep a healthy body weight, maintain their strength, keep their body tissue healthy, and decrease side effects both during and after treatment.
    My weight dropped drastically right after my radiation therapy treatment was completed. Before and after my surgical removal, I had started to follow some specific diet to help me feel better. I continue doing this until I was waiting for my treatment, but the effect of radiation therapy had resulted into a malnourished body which literally I lost much more weight than my normal body mass. But then, I completed my diet for 5 months after the radiation therapy treatment, until I regained my strength and was able to get back my normal body mass.
  • A registered dietitian is an important part of the healthcare team. As what I had mentioned above, it is not the first time I visited hospitals even before meeting children with cancer. Except for my admission for my tumor removal, every time I visited a friend in the hospital, my mind was always wondering if there a dietary department is existing around.
    I may have been mistaken with regards to this matter, missed this part or even mislook/misunderstood because of the language barrier, my point is, a role of a professional dietitian works with the patient, families, and even the rest of medical team to manage the patient’s diet during and after cancer treatment.
  • Cancer and cancer treatments may cause side effects that affect nutrition. Also mentioned earlier, how my weight drastically decreased right after my radiation therapy treatment. The effects of cancer and cancer treatments make it hard to a patient to eat well and hard to take in enough nutrients to stay healthy.
  • Cancer and cancer nutrition may cause malnutrition. Some cancer patients experience loss of taste, smell, appetite, and even the ability to eat enough food or absorb the nutrients from food because of cancer and its treatments. And this can cause malnutrition where the key nutrients are not enough for the body. When a patient is malnourished, it will easily get weak, tired, and unable to fight infection or finish cancer treatment. And the worst thing is, malnutrition may be made worse if cancer grows or spreads.

It is possible to return eating certain foods again that is used to be avoided if the body is readily consuming them. Better yet, it’s more advisable to talk to a doctor or another professional practitioner about how long a cancer patient should take food precautions.

**This blog is not intended to give a professional medical advice nor giving a list of food that prevents cancer. It is best to always seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner whatever medical condition you may or your loved ones have at the moment. And this is just an insight what nutrition cancer patients must receive during their treatment.

Photo courtesy of JuiceRecipes.

*Source: National Cancer Institute

5 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting Children With Cancer

It’s hard to know what to say or do for someone who has cancer and most especially to a child diagnosed with cancer. You want to say or do the right thing, but sometimes it comes out wrong at the end. You wish to help someone who has cancer, be with them or volunteer in an organization which aids patients with cancer, but how?

Everyone’s experience with cancer is unique, so as with the children who face this kind of battle at the early age. So here are the 5 things you need to know before you visit children with this deadly disease.

  1. Do something. Don’t just ask, “Is there anything I can do?” If you decided to volunteer to any NGOs or private charity project, simply offer to do something. Think about first what is it that you are capable of helping one of these children who has cancer. Maybe you can feed the child, sing a song, play with them or just simply touch the child on the arm, hand, shoulder or back as little as 60 seconds just to create a human bond.
  2. Offer practical and appropriate gifts. If you want to give your own personalized gift, grab your shoe box, fill it with some healthy snacks, toiletries, coloring book with non-toxic crayons, books, and a card. It’s a thought that counts, no matter how big or small you can offer too few or many, it meant a lot to the child and to its family. Yes, it’s so cute to bring balloons or so sweet to bring flowers for them but we don’t know if these children are allergic or sensitive with some latex content materials or pollen from the flowers. We don’t compromise the patient’s immune system so we better be attentive first before buying what gifts to buy for them.
  3. If the patient cries or shouts, it’s not about you. In my experience, no matter how I give comfort to a child who is crying or shouting, it won’t stop until it will be able to get asleep. The only time that they can’t feel the pain is when they’re sleeping. The mother could not even stop the child who suffers brain cancer from crying or shouting. So, whenever you visit a child with cancer in a hospital and you see them look terrible, you don’t need to come near and give comfort. If you also feel the need to cry, don’t hold your tears, just simply step out of the room. These cancer patients and their family don’t need crying and tissues in their room because they also try to be optimistic and looking forward that they will get out from the room they have been staying for months. I don’t say it’s not okay to cry but letting the children see you cry while they are lying on their bed is not really helping at all.
  4. Never make unkind comments. In my previous blog, I had written on how we choose the words we could give to cancer patients or even survivors. Usually, most people make comments that they never realize could hurt someone who suffers a deadly and terminal disease. In good faith, you may say a comment that you thought it’s positive, but it’s not actually comforting to those who are already hurt physically and mentally. So, it’s a good reminder to be careful about whatever we have to say not to hurt them more especially on the emotional aspect or rather say nothing at all. It’s perfectly fine to hold yourself from speaking, there’s no need to rush. Sometimes, just being with them and offering a touch can help more than words.
  5. Never whine about your life’s burdens. The last but not the least, a helpful reminder that each cancer patient or a survivor like me can share with you is to never complain about life. There’s nothing to complain about. Always realize that life has been good for you and you must enjoy that. We, the cancer survivors, have been trying to show you that you must enjoy life while you have it. And remember, somebody’s worst days could be much worse for others. Everything is relative. You make your own choice on how your life would be. Would you allow your entire day to be ruined with just a small mistake happened in the morning? Your reaction matters in every situation you are facing with. It could be a positive or negative circumstance, you have the option to look at your life on the way how you view it. One way or the other, the contrast of life is, as long as we are alive, we all have ups and downs and your approach is how you handle that roller coaster called LIFE.

So, if you have a chance to visit the children with cancer, you are just completing the circle. By any means of helping others, it’s the same way of treating and helping yourself. In return, meeting these children with cancer is another way to learn from their stories. And their stories might heal you, by seeing the pain from them, in order to recognize your own pain you’ve been keeping for a long time.

Do it now, tomorrow is not guaranteed that you can help and there are no second chances. Make memories while you can with these children and don’t put anything off to do later. Who knows, your life could change in a moment you are with them.

**This blog is not intended to give a professional medical advice. It is best to always seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner whatever medical condition you may or your loved ones have at the moment.

Photo courtesy of MyHDiet.

How an Emotional Support Helps a Cancer Patient and Survivor

Try to examine yourself now. Are every word, action, and energy go straight to your heart? What about when you make mistakes, can you easily know it, feel it and you feel like tearing yourself apart?

Now imagine this, your sibling, parent, friend or any special person in your life has got cancer. And as cancer affects their physical health, it also leads to exhaustive and diverse feelings. Most of them are negative emotions and they’re not used to be dealing with. These feelings change from time to time, every second and every minute.

But, let me tell you this. All the feelings of our loved one that has cancer or recovered from cancer are all normal. And also, even yours!

We all grew up in diverse ways on how to cope up trials and troubles, just as much how we think about dealing with cancer. Some feel they have to be strong and protect their friends and families. Some seek support and turn to loved ones or other cancer survivors, but it doesn’t mean they are weak enough not to show strength from within. They prefer listening to their experiences and struggles and how they were able to get up. Some ask for help from counselors or other professionals. And some, turn to their faith to help them cope.

The task of deciding whether to keep fighting the battle or just give up is overwhelming as we are able to see or experience cancer. Whatever each patient and survivor decide, the most important to do what’s right for them, without judging and comparing oneself to others.

If you find yourself in this circumstances, you could be a carer, health practitioner, friend or a family, you must understand the different feelings someone close to you that has cancer or recovering from cancer.

Overwhelmed
The first time I learned that I have cancer, I felt as if my life was out of control. And this is true for everyone. Exact feelings and thoughts. Why?

  1. We wonder if we’re going to live or how long we might live.
  2. Our normal schedules were shattered by treatments, doctor appointments and lots of questions unanswered clouded our head.
  3. We feel like we can’t enjoy the things we used to do or the things we are about to do.
  4. We feel hopeless and lonely.

Denial
During my first diagnosis, I was very skeptic about the fact of having a tumor inside my body. I started blaming external circumstances happened around me. They could be those people that had brought negative energy to my life or a careless lifestyle that I didn’t see it coming and had brought me cancer. Having cancer was one of the things I never wish to come in my life. So, it was hard to accept the fact, that I will be getting cancer or I have cancer.

Anger
I stopped talking to the people who are close to me, I feel so angry and ask myself, “Why me?” All those times, I felt so guilty when I feel mad at people around me and even to myself, but little I did know that it is okay to be angry. Because this anger helps me to motivate myself to take an action. Eventually, I turn to the right people to talk about my anger.

Fear and Worry
The word “tumor” had already scared me to death even before it was confirmed that it was already cancer. There are many things suddenly flashes in my mind that made me afraid and worried.

  1. I will not be able to do my future plans.
  2. How much pain will I feel and how long will it last.
  3. Paying my bills.
  4. Keeping my job.
  5. Death.

HOPE

In the middle of the fight, I came to the point that I have to profess, accept, and be honest with myself that I have cancer. So, that’s it. What should we do? You had it. Whining can’t help you beat that cancer. So as fear, worry, anger, denial and being overwhelmed.

Once you accept the fact that you have cancer,  you feel the sense of hope. In fact, there are many reasons to feel hopeful. It doesn’t mean, you got cancer, you will die anytime soon. There are thousands and millions of cancer survivors around the globe that are still alive today and that includes me, you, your friend or loved one.

Some doctors even think that “hope” may help your body deal with cancer. Scientists nowadays are studying whether a hopeful attitude and positive approaches to any problems help people feel better. Researchers even study the Science of Forgiveness can bring tremendous health and social benefits.

So let’s encourage them to build their sense of hope:

  1. Continue to plan their days as what they used to do. (Yes, I did this the exact way.)
  2. Don’t limit the things they like to do just because they have cancer. (People have cancer are not useless.)
  3. Look for some reasons to have hope. (I started journaling my journey with cancer and eventually started blogging last year. Creativity helps to build hope from the inside.)
  4. Spend time in nature. (After my radiation therapy, I shut the world and stop meeting people and bring my book to the park, read and watch people. It helps for 5 months.)
  5. Listen to stories about people with cancer who are leading active lives. (I watch TedTalks or other YouTube Videos, read books, blogs, articles or research papers.)

There are many ways to cope up our emotions if we are only open and forward to yourself first. If we only:

  • Express your feelings.
  • Look for the positive.
  • Don’t blame yourself for your cancer.
  • Find ways to help yourself relax.
  • Be active as you can.
  • Look for things you enjoy.
  • Look at what you can control.

Leaving you this bulleted list in just one simple sentence. I do look forward you can resonate with every word and keep moving on every day. Nothing is static and everything changes. We only need to be flexible with these crazy changes and accept what we cannot change instead of on dwelling and wait to die.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash