Remaining Positive During Treatment

The challenge of being a blood cancer survivor, in remission, and dealing with the cancer diagnosis of my husband undergoing treatment for lung cancer can certainly present numerous challenges. It is suggested that we “stay in the present.” Yes, he has cancer, we are both tired, worried, and fighting for his life. But we are surrounded by the people that love us, and by caring and competent physicians.

Living one moment at a time

I am trying to live “one moment at a time,” which is difficult for me as I like to be in control. Deep breathing and meditating have helped. I try not to dwell on the cancer and its treatment. Enjoy the positive moments. I was excited when several weeks post-op, Brian showered by himself and suggested we walk our dog by the beach. I recognized the progress he is making.

You are not your diagnosis

You are not your diagnosis! Having cancer does not mean you need to put your life on hold.

Realizing that I need to stay positive, I have resumed a schedule of yoga classes to help clear my head and allow me to have more patience during this stressful time. Cognitive therapy, in which one identifies stressors in their life and suggest strategies to address is also helpful.

Tips for mental health

Here are some ways to keep positive mental health.

  • Keep doing the things that bring you joy. Nurture yourself, what makes you happy? Look at each day as a new opportunity. My husband enjoys spending time with his puppy, watching golf and football. He hopes to take a boating safety course to enjoy his new boat. I have encouraged him to make plans. We are praying that his chemotherapy will be completed by summer, and he can enjoy both his boat and playing golf.
  • Stay in touch with family and friends who can be a valuable support, provide advice and company. Chatting with an old dear friend has helped me through the dark moments.
  • Reach out to family. My sister-in-law was an amazing help, when we needed a ride to NYC to have a procedure done. I will be forever grateful. Our neighbors, in our new neighborhood, have been very helpful, checking on us and even shoveling the snow from our driveway.
  • Allow yourself more rest. Lack of sleep can lead to poor decisions and negatively affect your mood. We both try to nap when tired.
  • Try to count your blessings. Yes, things could be worse. My husband survived the complex surgery, and the lung tumor was removed.
  • Try to look for hope. We are alive and there is a plan for chemotherapy which will improve his overall survival.
  • Stay balanced with emotion. You do not always have to be positive. I give myself permission to have low moments, feeling sad or angry but move on. I try to have confidence in who I am and how I handled stress in the past.
  • Be informed. The unknown is frightening. Knowledge is power. I researched all aspects of lung cancer and its treatment. I learned about biologic studies and its relevance to the choice of treatment. This helped me understand the proposed chemotherapy protocol.

Life is worth fighting for. The above strategies are helping my husband and I stay positive as we manage his chemotherapy and look forward to the future.

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