This blog is dedicated to all those that need a few answers and direction...after getting diagnosed with cancer. There's no guide book to tell you what to do. Every health care facility has programs and people that can help with questions and give you information, but YOU have to know what your looking for. It makes a cancer diagnosis a pretty overwhelming experience, as I know it was for me. Really not knowing where to turn for information and help....and where to start. So, I'm going to give you the strategy, that I just came across naturally, when I was faced with my own mortality.
1. Get YOUR mind right!!
When I was diagnosed, in 2008 with Stage 4 Pancreatic cancer, I was reeling from the diagnosis and the given 6 months to live BS. My mind was everywhere and nowhere all at once....I know that does not seem possible, but it was. I read 2 great books: "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle & "Cancer Conqueror" by Greg Anderson I credit these 2 books with helping me find the path of not letting worries and what ifs rule my days. (since I was only given 6 months to live) I also read the Bible..which gave my soul peace and found comfort in its words. These books were my mind's saving grace. "As the mind goes...so does the body." I do not know who wrote this quote, but I found this to be true through my journey through cancer. It wont be easy, but will be COMPLETELY worth it!
2. Be your BEST Advocate and ALWAYS take an extra set of ears. Ask questions!
You have your diagnosis...NOW WHAT! I spent my time, 3 weeks to be exact, waiting to get in to see an Oncologist. I had to call numerous days in a row to finally get into a cancellation..that made the 3 weeks even possible. You have to speak up for yourself. It takes teamwork, and remember YOU are a part of that team! If you have questions, make sure they get answered and you understand. That's just good customer service...am I right!? Have a friend, spouse, or family member be your buddy through your journey. There is SO much information! 4 ears are ALWAYS better than 2.
3. PLEASE get a 2nd and 3rd opinion!!
I can't stress this enough! My original Oncologist, Dr. Robert Levin, told me..if I remember it correctly, "The first chemotherapy that is administered...is the most important. You get one chance to knock the cancer into submission." So please, find a place that you feel gives you the best chance to survive! Don't settle...it's YOUR life!
4. Internet- Do research on the internet, but DON'T over due it...on the statistics especially. This can be overwhelming, and take its toll on your entire well being. DO NOT live in the gloom and doom of statistics DO seek out Survivor stories, new different treatments, support groups ( that's a whole blog in its self), find a hobby, or 2. Feed your soul with good stuff....it will pay huge dividends.
5. Finances- People will want to help...let them. Whether it's a Benefit dinner or starting a Go Fund Me campaign. It's how folks show they care. Cancer is EXPENSIVE, so It will ALL help. 401k's can be accessed, as well as life insurance, please check with your HR department at your employer to find out more information. There are a few organizations that help financially. ( again, this is whole blog in its self). They are few and far between...but are there. My suggestion is try local charities in your area, as well as some hospitals. You just have to ask..your Oncology social worker for more information.
I hope this will help some of you looking for a little direction, in your time of need. Make it a great day! Chris