Please find an article written by our oncology team max shalimar bagh about the journey a cancer patient undergoes with quotes from them. You ay find it interesting.
Chapter – 1
Cancer Journey: Obstacles and Milestones
Dr. R Ranga Rao & Dr. Ruchika Khetrapal
Cancer journey is one of the most difficult ones encountered in life. Entry into this path is or journey is when someone is diagnosed with it and exit from it is when one is cured and is normal. Though the person is free from cancer, often the mind refuses to be free from it. The thoughts of recurrence, suffering, cost of care, stress, trouble to caregivers and family swarm the mind all the time and sometimes give one sleepless nights. The disease is such that the patient, caregiver, family members and friends are knowingly or unknowingly in it.
Figure-1 (Facing Page) depicts the various paths of this journey in a simplistic manner.
The explanation, suggestion, advices by doctor, nurses and others can help the patient and to some extent the caregiver but sharing the experiences of another person who has gone through it can be of great help.
This article endeavours to be a combination of both.
During this journey, there will be obstacles to encounter as well as milestones to be achieved. We are going through each part of this journey along with the patient excerpts as to how they have encountered it. The purpose is to make your jouney as smooth, safe and tolerable as possible.
Your Emotions after a Cancer Diagnosis
Learning that you have cancer is a difficult experience. After your cancer diagnosis, you may feel anxious, afraid or overwhelmed and wonder how you can cope during the days ahead.
You may not be able to take in the diagnosis immediately – you might hear the words but not believe them. There are many reasons for this shock: cancer is a serious disease, and most people feel afraid and unsure about treatment, side effects and the likely impact on family and work.
Cancer can also feel like a threat to your way of life. You may wonder if you will be the same person as before, if you will be able to do the things you usually do and if your relationships will change. These thoughts and feelings are a natural reaction to a difficult situation.
“…For a conscientious person like me regarding ‘Health’, it was a shock when in 2014 after a persistent urine infection and a weirdly bloating stomach n of course a visit to my Gynea I came to know that I was in the 2A stage of ovarian cancer ”
– Ms.Shivani Mehta
“…Paranoia’…the fear of the unknown-that’s exactly how I would describe my feeling. As at the time of diagnosis my husband wasn’t with me and was bound by certain legalities so he could not come back. ” – Ms. Shivani Mehta
“ She examined and refered us to get a fine needle
test done immediately. The results came next day in the evening. We learnt that it was carcenogenic. Our world came to a standstill for a moment. My husband was shocked and too emotional to react. Somehow I gathered courage to console the whole family especially my bedridden mother in law who was totallly shaken.”… – Ms. Shuchi Malhotra
Cancer is a big challenge, it turns life up to down and making future unknown…
“ This is how we all feel when first listening that
we have cancer. Dear all, even without cancer life is full of ups and downs and future is unknown.
Because we are so much involved in to standard lifestyle that we don’t realize how we are depriving ourselves from the beauty of the life and cancer is a honk in the middle of all wrong actions and it is awakening by just saying STOP doing this to yourself it is time to live. ” – Ms. Venera Voskanyan
“…I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma stage III BS on July 21st, 2015 which is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of our immune system. I was unescorted and stunned the moment I was versed to be suffering from it. The words in the report shook the ground beneath me, but I was lucky enough to find a new stable spot to stand. Then the ground shook a few more times: When I learned of a recurrence, and then another…”- Ms. Nidhi Aggarwal
After a Cancer Diagnosis: Time to Take Control Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be a shock, causing feelings such as numbness, confusion or
Once the initial shock has subsided, the enormity of the new reality sinks in: So many questions and so few answers; so much change and uncertainty; so much fear and so little hope.
The answer lies within each of us. We all know exceptional stories of human determination during times of war, natural disasters and personal tragedy. People manage to ignite their inner sense of hope, channel outrage and fear into a self- preservation instinct, which even cancer cannot take away – unless we let it.
After the initial shock, practical planning needs to begin for the physical and emotional challenges that lie ahead during treatment and beyond.
Treatment for cancer is highly complex and individualized. Your cancer treatment plan will depend on many factors, including the type of cancer you have, it’s location and stage of development, your current state of health, and your goals for treatment and quality of life. Seeking a cure regardless of the discomfort of treatment, or pursuing comfort above all else, are both reasonable treatment goals.
To make informed decisions, you will need to understand your cancer treatment options.
Support from family and friends after a cancer diagnosis can be literally lifesaving. The key: getting the support you need while reserving time and energy for treatment and recovery.
Taking care of yourself after a cancer diagnosis may be the most important task of all – and the most overlooked.
Work obligations and other roles – such as parent, spouse, or caregiver – will compete for your time and energy. Always remember the airplane advisory: “Put your own oxygen mask on before helping others.”
Let’s see what some patients have to say…
“…I never questioned “Why me?” nor I did complain about being incredibly sick, Instead I forced myself to fight this cancer within my body and to continue with the treatment. This taught me that no matter what adversity I faced in my life, I would overcome it. I kept reading several motivating books, about this disease and watched movies which never failed to boost me up but my main motivating factor was my family, friends and the hospital staff…” – Ms. Nidhi Aggarwal
“…Cancer has changed my life, thought me many things and the most beautiful part in all this difficulties was the support of the family and friends, as well as of unknown people, irrespective their nationalities, religions like a one family, they prayed for me, supported me to stand strong . Remember, cancer is just a disease, it comes when you don’t value your life and you take it granted , it teaches you, makes you strong and right and just goes…” – Ms. Venera Voskanyan
Staying positive is important. However, expressing your feelings – even ones that seem negative – is even more important.
Decision making and cancer
You’ve just been diagnosed with cancer. Your mind is reeling. And now your doctor wants you to sort through cancer treatment options and help decide on a plan.
Partnering with your doctor to make decisions about your cancer treatment may make you feel more confident as you begin your cancer treatment
Coping with the treatment and its side effects Cancer treatment can bring about many temporary changes in appearance – from hair loss and weight
gain to skin problems. In patients already coping
with the physical and emotional effects of serious illness, the added burden of worrying about their looks can add an extra layer of anxiety.
But you can do many things to feel more confident and comfortable with your appearance. In fact, simple things – like wearing a cool new hat or bandana during hair loss, or taking a shopping trip when old clothes no longer fit – can work wonders toward boosting your self-esteem and outlook.
It also helps to remember that side effects won’t last forever. Soon after treatment ends, most side effects subside. But until then, it may take some creativity to manage them
Here are some tips from the crusaders which might help you in coping with the side effects!!
“…Motivation is the key to the cure.
Facing Forward : Life after Cancer Treatment Now that treatment has finished, you wonder if you’ll be able to pick up where you left off before
your diagnosis. It’s time to get back to normal and
feel good about the future.
Just as everyone’s cancer experience is unique, adjusting to life after treatment will be unique as well. You might have to figure out what will now be normal for you and your family.
It’s normal to worry about the cancer coming back and wonder about how you would react and cope if it did.
At first you may think that every ache, pain, runny nose or general unwell feeling means that the cancer has returned. Remember that not every symptom means that the cancer has returned.
As time goes by, most people find that their fears fade and they worry less.
Here is what some patients have to say…
“…Cancer is only one part of my life story and fails to define me. I am 45, a mother of two, a teacher, a home maker, a professional child psychologist and every day is a new challenge, a new role for me …”
Cancer is often described as a journey that starts at diagnosis. During treatment, some people feel that their life is on hold. After treatment ends, sometimes it may be hard to know how to resume normal activities. Over time, survivors often find a new way of living. As someone has so beautifully said.
What Cancer Cannot Do” Cancer is so limited.. It cannot cripple LOVE – It cannot shatter HOPE – It cannot corrode FAITH – It cannot destroy PEACE – It cannot kill FRIENDSHIP – It cannot suppress MEMORIES – It cannot silence COURAGE – It cannot invade the SOUL – It cannot steal eternal LIFE – It cannot conquer the SPIRIT” – Anonymous
Always remember at the end of this long battle with cancer..
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as beautiful as you’d ever imagined. – Anonymous”
Comments, suggestions and feedbacks welcome.