How do you manage emotions after a diagnosis?

This entry was written by one of our volunteers:

I’ve been diagnosed twice now, and I think it does get a little easier each time. Has that been your experience?

For me, the worst day was day one —the day I heard that the breast cancer had returned. It was five years after my diagnosis (tubular, no lymph nodes, lumpectomy, radiation) and just as I was finally getting used to the idea that I was really, really going to be finished with “this”.  So the diagnosis floored me. Literally.  I was on the floor.

The second time, 17 years later, was easier.  I had been dealing with back pain, couldn’t figure out the source (“it” was always in the back of my mind) and then we got the answer.  More lesions in my back.

So how did I deal with the roller coaster of emotions?  And how do you?

Lots of ways: panic, crying, fear.  But I think the real answer, for me, was to get as much information as I needed (NOT as much information as I could find-two different things), try to make smart decisions, go to smart doctors, follow good advice.

And I see my therapist.  I listen to what he has to say.  I do relaxation exercises.  I try to eat sensibly.  I exercise when I’m feeling well. I avoid people who don’t make me happy.  I do what I want to do.  I keep track of life: I keep a journal and I keep a log of how I’m feeling. I acknowledge that this stinks and that I’m angry about it.  I’m honest with the people who care about me. 

That’s what I do.  It might not work for you. 

You might need to yell more or smile more or throw things or embrace things. You might need to dress in pink….or avoid pink at all costs. You might need to indulge your inner-kvetch or indulge your inner-cheerleader.  Whatever works. Get help.  This stinks.  You don’t have to do it alone.  Go to a support group if that works for you. Or go for long walks.  Pay attention to what your heart and head are telling you, not what your family/neighbors/friends think is right for you.  Do what you need to do.  Know that you can get through lots of bad stuff because you’ve already done it and you’ve seen your strength. And your weaknesses.  Acknowledge both.

Ok, enough soap box. I have advanced breast cancer. I wish I didn’t. But either way, I still get to make a life for myself. Thank God for that.

Want to continue the conversation? Become a fan of LBBC on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. And if you need to speak with someone who’s been through the same thing, call our Survivors’ Helpline at (888) 753-5222. Trained volunteers and breast cancer survivors are waiting to talk with you.





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