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Newly Diagnosed With Cancer

Share your emotions. Watch for depression. Consider seeking counseling. Keep busy while waiting for test results. You may also want to consider getting a pet if you don't have one (yes, a pet).

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Let the people closest to you know when you are experiencing stress and fear. Talking helps. As we've already seen, your emotions may be all over the place due to the stress of dealing with the issues at hand as well as the unknown. 

Do what you can to relieve the stress. For example:

  • Define your fears. If you define your fears specifically, you can come up with solutions to each of them so that so you don't feel so powerless and overwhelmed by them.
  • Eat foods that are comfort food for you, even if they're not the healthiest.
  • Start doing things to make you feel in control or that help you feel centered. For instance, think of a small project you can start and finish quickly.

Waiting for test results can be agonizing. There are time tested ideas that can help you get through this period. For instance, keep busy. Take advantage of your support systems. If you need help sleeping, get it. Use relaxation techniques. Exercise.

If you get stuck in a down mode:

  • Talk with your doctor. He or she may prescribe anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications. AND
  • Consider seeking professional counseling. Counseling is for anyone who wants to sort out what they're feeling. Counseling is usually done in person. If that is not possible, you can arrange for therapy on the telephone, or even on line. If your insurance doesn't pay for counseling, many therapists work on a sliding scale and charge according to your means. 

Last, but not least, consider getting a pet. Pets are not a substitute for communicating with other people in a similar situation, support groups or therapists. However, they are good for emotional health and have been shown to increase longevity. The pet doesn't have to be a dog or a cat, and it doesn't have to be an attention requiring puppy or kitten. If you have a landlord who prohibits pets, you may be able to have one as an accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Survivorship A to Z provides advice about how to live with a pet including how not to get any kind of infection from them. Please see "To Learn More."

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