Receiving a cancer diagnosis often brings forth a lot of information and questions, and it is normal to feel overwhelmed. As you process through your own journey, or walk alongside a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer, I hope that you may consider some of the following ideas to incorporate into your story.
Build Community: The National Cancer Institute has recognized more than 100 forms of cancer currently in the world further serving as a reminder that if you, or a loved one, is journeying through a cancer diagnosis and/or treatment, you are not alone. The saying “it takes a village” has never rang more true. There are multiple events and gatherings with others who have shared a similar journey that can be found through organizations such as John Muir Health and the American Cancer Society. I recently listened to a friend share a quote by Rupi Kaur, an author and poet, who states, “the world gives you so much pain and here you are making gold out of it”. By widening your circle of support - by connecting with friends, families, group organizations, or even a therapist – you are able to gain community in sharing your fears, hopes, and triumphs within your unique story.
Exercise: Dependent on your health and doctor’s permission, integrating exercise - such as walking, yoga, swimming, or stretching - has shown to challenge depression and increase a positive change in one’s mood and behavior.
Take Care of Yourself: Spend time doing something you enjoy every day such as - cooking your favorite meal, spending time with friends, attending a support group or seeking your individual counseling, watching a movie, meditating/praying, or listening to your favorite music. Although self-care may appear as selfish, self-care is truly one of the most selfless choices an individual can implicate into his or her life. By incorporating self-care into your life, you are able to become more aware of your own needs and gain greater restoration in order to further live out your passion(s) and purpose.