Being diagnosed with cancer can be scary and confusing. Being aware that this diagnosis affects your emotional and spiritual self, as well as your body, is important. You may feel the need for help. Many types of support are available. Some first steps to taking care of yourself are probably things you already do. Explore the resources in this section for ways to get support.
The first, last, and most important step to remember is to breathe … long, deep breaths. Breathing helps you clear your mind and brings your heart rate down.
Allow yourself to take a few steps back from your situation and view it from a slightly different view … you may be able to see more clearly what is happening, and know what is in your control and what is not. Make one decision at a time.
Acknowledge your Feelings
Expressing your feelings is an important part of this journey. Something intimate and major has happened to you that will impact most, if not all, aspects of your life. This will likely evoke powerful feelings of fear, anxiety, sadness or anger. A sense of relief, calm, and comfort may follow when you express your emotions, both positive and negative.
Seek the Support of Others
Cancer is stressful and you may need help coping. Who are you going to reach out to for support? Family, neighbours, friends and co-workers may want to help, but may not know how. Be open with your family and friends as to how they can help you.
Resist Information Overload
Do your “homework.” Become informed about your diagnosis in a way that is helpful to you. Be careful not to get overloaded and overwhelmed with information or others’ stories. Remember, your journey is unique and your own; some people’s experiences may not really be useful or applicable to you.
You may find a sense of comfort in talking or connecting with others who share similar experiences, either in person, online or over the telephone. Remember that everyone’s cancer, and their experience with cancer, is unique.
Cancer Support Community
Canadian Cancer Society
1.888.939.3333 | www.cancerconnection.ca
A peer support program that matches you with a trained volunteer who has had a similar cancer experience. Volunteers listen and offer support over the telephone. As well, a trusted online community for patients, their family and friends.
Cancer Chat Canada
A website with online professionally-led support online support groups for women with cancer.
Eyes on the Prize (US)
A website with online support groups for gynecological cancer.