If your oncologist recently told you that your cancer has come back, you may be experiencing a myriad of emotions. Your feelings might range from shock and fear to anger and denial – even though the possibility of recurrence had probably never strayed very far from your mind after you completed treatment. While it might take you some time to adjust to this unsettling news, remember: You are a survivor. You’ve been through a lot, and you have valuable experience that can help you face the challenging road that lies ahead.
In order to begin moving forward, you’ll need to acknowledge the fact that your life has changed. While you may be able to continue many of your regular activities, some may become more difficult. As you try to find ways to cope, remember to conserve your energy for the people and things that matter most to you. Also, be flexible. You may need to suddenly change course if your energy level unexpectedly drops.
How to take your mind off cancer
Your new schedule of tests, treatments and follow-up visits will likely require a lot of your time and energy. To enhance your overall well-being, try to plan at least one simple pleasure for each day, which – no matter how insignificant it may seem – can help take your mind off cancer. Many people find that they enjoy:
- Exercising or practicing yoga
- Catching up with a friend over a meal or snack
- Talking with loved ones on the phone
- Spending time outdoors
- Taking pictures
- Completing puzzles
- Knitting or crocheting
- Listening to music
- Watching movies
You should also know that you are not alone. If necessary, be proactive about reminding your family members and friends that you are still the same person you always were, but you now need more of their help. Be specific about what you need (they may not know), which could be something as simple as a comforting presence or listening ear.
Additionally, you may find it helpful to join a support group, where you can freely share your thoughts with others who have been there, too, and therefore understand how you feel. Moffitt Cancer Center offers a number of support groups, as well as a wide variety of informational, clinical and wellness services designed to enhance the lives of those who are facing cancer. If you’d like information about our supportive care services, contact us at 1-888-663-3488.