Colorectal Cancer: Newly Diagnosed: The Basics
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 successfully 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." Help is available for questions.
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.
In addition, think of your food, exercise and rest as part of your medical care. A cancer prevention lifestyle helps boost the disease fighting immune system and helps prevent disease down the road.
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.
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.
- You can find a buddy who is in or has gone through a similar situation via the buddy program of the Colon Cancer Alliance (www.ccalliance.org/volunteer/buddy_program.html ), a social worker at the treatment facility or a nurse in your doctor's office.
- You can also find support and friendship at the Colon Cancer Alliance’s online community. Sometimes it is easier to talk with a stranger sharing the same path than our own family members or friends. (You can remain anonymous if that is easier for you, while still getting information and support). See: www.MyCRCConnections.ning.com . For additional colorectal cancer support groups, click here.
- Each of the above subjects are covered in other sections of this site.
- Our site contains collected wisdom from experts and people like yourself. Please share any tips or information you learn that may help other people similarly situated by e-mail to Survivorship A to Z.