Receiving the diagnosis of blood cancer can be one of the most difficult things one will face. Now that you or someone you care for has been diagnosed, what advice would you give to others who are going through this new experience?
My advice would be to focus on what you can control and try not to stress about what you can’t! It’s also so important to take action and educate yourself on the next steps and to really be mindful and present during your treatment.
When I was diagnosed with APL Leukemia I was more concerned with reassuring my family and friends that I was ok because I didn’t want them to worry. I guess that was the nurse in me coming out. I was used to being the person that took care of patients and their families and not the other way around. My advise is to concentrate on the things that you can control. I drew heavily on my faith and put all my trust in God. I also believe that a positive attitude was every bit as important as the chemotherapy I took. Your life will change, embrace it and make the best of it. Find and concentrate on the blessings no matter how small. You can find a blessing everyday. Some of my blessings was the fact that I meet some incredible caregivers and other patients. I had people that I had never met praying for me and sending me cards and my children stepped up and supported me and each other. I look back on my Journey and I can honestly say that I would not change it because I gained more than it took and I am able to understand, support and help others who are facing the same illness as I did. I pray for each of you and your families.
My advice to someone who is newly diagnosed with a blood cancer is to become your own best advocate and to put together a support network. To become your own best advocate you need to educate yourself so that you can engage in educated discussions with you health care team and make informed decisions about treatment options. Engaged, educated patients tend to have better outcomes for their given situation. Your support network should include your healthcare team, care partner, family, friends and others that have your same cancer. It’s important to have a physical, a psychological, as well as a social support network. Live in the moment. Set goals. Begin a gratitude journal. Accept help.