Understanding a Cancer Diagnosis

20 04 2009

If you’ve ever received a cancer diagnosis, I’m sure your first reaction was like mine: you freak out.  You go through the five stages of the Kübler-Ross model.  First denial: “This can’t be happening, not to me.” Then anger: “Why me? It’s not fair!” Next bargaining: “I’ll do anything for a few more years.” Then, grieving*: “What’s the point of anything?” The grieving stage, in my humble opinion, is the most important stage and probably the most misunderstood.  No one wants to see a person suffering from grief.  Family, friends and significant others will want to comfort you — but this stage is about wallowing in your grief.  Feel free to wallow in it all you like, it’s your life that’s at stake here.  Involve a therapist if you need to.  Stay away from anti-depresents if possible.  I’ll wallow in my grief for however long it takes until I finally feel I have morned the loss enough.  Then, I take action; which is the last stage: acceptance.

Your doctor will suggest surgery, radiation or chemotherapy to treat your cancer.  Additionally, you need to take responsibility for your own health which is why it’s important to reach the acceptance stage as soon as you can so you can make those complex decisions.  You’ll need to seek out doctors you trust and understand, because you’ll be partnering with them to resolve your cancer.  Most importantly, you need to understand what cancer is and what changes you need to make to help your cancer treatment be as effective as possible.

I can’t speak more highly of a book than Anticancer: a New Way of Life.  Please purchase this book if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer.  You will learn about cancer’s weaknesses and how to exploit them with basic lifestyle changes.  This blog is dedicated to exploring just what an “anticancer lifestyle” is, starting from simple changes and building on those successes.


* Originally, this stage is called “depression” but I’ve renamed it grieving after experiencing it so many times

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