Cancer Changes Your Approach Towards Living

Stress and Confusion

Stress and Confusion















Without a single doubt, cancer forces you to move along a different course in life. Cancer changes your approach towards living.


There is a tremendous amount of stress that comes with a cancer diagnosis and the medical treatment that follows. Adding medical treatment for cancer to anyone’s life is very challenging let alone to someone who has been weakened by cancer. There are numerous doctor visits, medical tests and scans, frequent visits to have blood drawn for analysis, sometimes daily radiation, sometimes daily, weekly or monthly chemotherapy infusions.


These medical intervention activities don’t happen once and then they are done. These medical intervention activities happen on a rotational basis. So once you have completed one cycle, there is another repeat medical cycle of more doctor visits, medical tests, blood labs and infusions following within the next cycle. For many folks their treatments involve multiple cycles anywhere from three cycles to six cycles or more. Often folks continue with treatment for anywhere from three to six months and some have years of treatment.


There are financial burdens as well. There are co-payments, up-front costs, parking fees, etc., etc. The management of your care includes dealing with the medical insurance companies, making sure the prescribed tests are “pre-certified, ensuring they are paying your providers on time and making sure your providers are coding your medical treatment accurately so your insurance will cover the expense. If you thought your life was stressful before cancer, you may want to re-think your definition of stress now.


Some of us immediately cleaned out stress from our lives; cleaned out relationships that wore on our tolerance and cleaned out activities that seemed lower in importance to the numbered days we had ahead. Many of us quickly learned how to reorganize our lives to minimize stress.


So if you haven’t reviewed the Holmes stress scale (found within Getting Well Again, by O. Carol Simonton), do so as soon as you can. You may learn you have had a hand in being pre-disposed to cancer due to stress. Your not being able to handle stress well will only escalate during your treatment for cancer if you don’t grab control quickly.


I found this stress rating scale to be quite revealing. Many of the events causing stress were rather obvious; events such as a death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation or death of a close family member. However, other events are not as obvious for being cause to stress; events such as a change to a different line of work, starting or finishing school, a son or daughter leaving home, or even a vacation. While the accumulated number becomes a probability factor for illness, it does not make it a certainty for illness. What the Holmes scale acknowledges is that some folks are more capable of handling stressful events than others. Those of us who have been diagnosed with cancer, can measure the amount of stress and emotional upset we experienced prior our diagnosis. What we do with this information becomes a test of our will to live. How badly are you willing to make changes in your life?


Cancer changes your approach towards living. When you decide to make changes, you take charge of your changes. As you change, you will be altering cancer’s approach about wanting to live within you.


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