Colorectal Cancer: In Treatment: The Basics
THE BASICS ARE THE SAME FOR EACH SEGMENT OF LIFE AFTER A DIAGNOSIS. IF YOU HAVE READ THEM BEFORE, A SECOND READING IS WORTHWHILE.
Your World Has A New Normal
As a person who has recently been diagnosed, it may be the last thing you want to hear, but the reality is that life as you knew it before your diagnosis has changed. Experience indicates that just about every aspect of your life will be affected. While things may all seem a jumble at this point, they will eventually settle into a new normal.
New normal is here for the rest of your life. Even after a positive outcome to your current situation, there will always be the risk that it will return or a new cancer will appear or something else totally different will happen. No matter how many years pass, you will always see the world through diagnosed eyes.
Replace Fear With Action
Learn the information you need to know to successful navigate through the new normal – which is where we come in. Our information is written in easy-to-understand language. The guidelines for our staff are two words: “Practical” and “Useful.”
Use All The Tools Available To You
The medical community provides treatment, drugs and advice.
Once medical decisions are made, it is up to you to do your best to comply with the chosen program.
Expect The Best
- Know that there is no such thing as false hope.
- "Live" with a health condition, rather than spend time "dying" of it.
Expecting the best may be a change in habit for you. If so, it may take time to change. In fact, it may take a long time. However, it is worth the effort to try -- and to keep trying. To learn how to keep a positive attitude, click here.
Prepare For The What Ifs
- Try for realistic optimism. Balance optimism with the reality of day-to-day living.
- Examine your financial, insurance, work and legal situation to pay for medical care, keep your current lifestyle, and prepare for the what ifs. Any of us could become unable to work, or take care of ourselves, or even die. Use all the resources available to you.
Be In Charge
- Be in control of your own life. Nobody cares as much about your life as you do.
- Be pro-active instead of passive.
- Being in charge can be lonely and intimidating at times. It can even be overwhelming. These are small prices to pay to achieve the outcome you seek.
- If you want to turn over the decision making in particular areas to other people – including medical decisions - that's your choice. At least do it consciously, knowing that there is an alternative.
- Do your best. Do your best. Do your best. That’s all we can realistically expect of ourselves. We're all human.
Don’t even think about going it alone
- Start putting together a support team. In addition to family members and friends, it helps to have a cancer buddy – someone who is going through it or has been through it. Colon Cancer Alliance can help you find a buddy. So can a social worker at the treatment facility or a nurse in your doctor’s office.
- Consider joining a support group.or self help group. In addition to emotional support, you will likely learn helpful practical information as well. Groups meet in person, on the telephone and online.
- When you have contact with an employer, insurer or government agency, it is advisable to keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Always get the name and/or i.d. number of the person with whom you speak.
- Make notes.
- Note the day and time and what was said.
- Keep your notes in the file with whatever subject you’re calling about.
- Keep a photocopy of all forms you complete.
- If you mail anything that seems important:
- Include a cover letter with a date.
- Keep a copy. Attach a copy of the cover letter to your copy of the form.
- Send it by a delivery system that provides delivery receipts such as certified mail, return receipt requested or, by overnight. Note on your copy of the letter the receipt number so there is proof what was included in the particular envelope. Keep the receipt with your copy of the letter or documentWhen you are told things must be done by a deadline, note the deadline in your diary – and finish on time.
- After each conversation, make sure you are in sync with the other person by repeating what is to be done, by whom, and by when.
- Make an alert to follow up to be sure the other person does what he or she agreed to do.
- Follow up on the day of your alert.