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Coping with Cancer

When the cancer diagnosis has been given, a person is forced to face their own mortality. Knowledge is power, and learning about how to deal with your diagnosis or what to expect with treatments can help you cope with it easier. Ask your doctor questions.

Write down questions as you think of them since they often escape us later. Ask your doctor to explain things you do not understand and write down information.

Welcome support from family, friends, and loved ones. They are in your life because they care about you so let them know when you need an ear to vent, someone to help, or a word of encouragement.

But ask them to respect your space when you need time alone. Seek support from clergy or religious leaders. Keep a journal to release emotions that you do not feel comfortable expressing to anyone else. Also, seek out other cancer survivors.

Nearly 10 million people in our country are survivors and they can shed some light on your situation or help you cope simply because they truly know what you are going through. They live normal, happy lives after enduring a serious illness and therapy with physical and mental side effects.

Listen to your body. Rest when it tells you that you need to slow down. Ask your doctor about physical activity and diet. Each cancer is different, each treatment is different, and each individual is unique. Each persons genetic makeup and type of illness and advancement is different. Some had successful therapy. Some changed or modified their therapy before it was successful.

However, most survivors attest that, aside from medicine, attitude made a big difference. They realized that ultimately a good attitude would either support the healing process and give a better quality of life. Some say that humor got them through many days that would have otherwise been difficult.

While humor does not cure cancer, it supports physiological functions that positively affect immunity and healing by supporting healthy cells. It also fights depression and anxiety, and reduces stress. Laughter increases oxygen levels in the lungs and blood. It is also believed that belly laughter helps rid you of excess carbon-dioxide and replaces it with oxygen. It also distracts you from pain.

Find humor in everyday life. Look for the lighter side of things, have a playful attitude. Share your laughter with others. Typically we laugh harder or longer with others than alone. Surround yourself with humor, read comical books, watch sitcoms and movies that make you laugh. Laughter doesn’t take away illness, but makes it easier to cope.

Every day is different. Some are good, some are not. Focus on what helps you feel better and just take it day by day.

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