Pierre Dybman (dybmapi) wrote,
Pierre Dybman

Post-cancer treatment conclusions part 2 (or is it still part 1?)

So, last time i wrote about what i can't help you with, pain management.

What about fear management?

Fear is a powerful emotion, and it can overwhelm the whole process, from the appearance of some symptoms, the diagnostic, the therapeutic decision, the recovery, the chemo etc.

Let's be honest here, this whole cancer thing is spelled D.E.A.T.H, and that's scary!

Letting yourself go in the arms of fear is the worst thing you can do, at any time during the various phases. And also later.

Not going to see a doctor when you are bleeding, have abnormal swelling, notice strange lumps or abnormal skin colouring, just because you don't want to hear bad news is an often fatal mistake.

Time is your greatest ally, and your worst enemy. You MUST consult as soon as you have doubts, and in case you hear bad news, you can ask for a second opinion, but from a higher level, like a renowned (and more expensive) specialist.

Waiting is NOT a solution, as cancer can be most effectively treated (read cured) when detected early.

The more you wait, the heavier the medical procedures will be in the future. What can be a design wart or polyp, easy to cut off, can become an invasive tumour, ready to disseminate and send metastases all over your internal organs.

Phase I and Phase II cancers are so easy to pull through, it's a shame so many people find out they are ill only when they have reached Phase III or Phase IV.

Don't skimp on regular check-ups, and don't procrastinate out of fear.

When the diagnostic is heard, and additional exams are requested to specify the exact Phase you are in, in order to find the best treatment suitable, fear really sinks in. "I've got cancer! " And even if you don't (yet) give in to fear, still numbed by the shock of hearing these news, you will see fear in the eyes of your loved ones, wife, husband, children, parents...

The fear of incoming pain, expensive (unaffordable?) treatments, surgery, trauma, multiple syringes, hospitals, all this can paralyse and cloud your judgment, just when you need it most.

You're about to take, or accept, one of the most important decisions of your life.

Read profusely about your specific type of cancer, learn the statistics and survival rates for your specific Phase, study the various treatments available, as new treatments have appeared in a number of cases, such as immunotherapy, and others are just around the corner.

Keep a cool head as you study the financial aspects of the proposed treatments, check your degree of coverage, study how you can finance the uncovered parts etc.

Remember the joke that goes as "if a problem can be solved with money, then it's not a problem, it's a cost".

What else?

Well, fear will be with you as you go through blood tests, waiting for the results on specific markers and mutations, MRIs and scans, that will inform the doctors of the existence and extent, if any, of metastasis.

On average, some news will be good, others bad. Not often are you dealt an exclusively bad hand.

Chemotherapy brings its own fears. A huge list of possible side-effects, the difficulty, or the impossibility to continue working, the tiredness, what will happen to me in the course of one, maybe two rounds of chemo?

What if the first treatments don't work? Are there second level treatments that can still stop the progression?

Fear will poison your present, and your future.

An illness such as cancer muddies your horizons, and i would recommend to limit it to short and middle term, focus on the present, and the next few days or weeks, in between sessions.

Be very aware of any small change in your health, your stamina, your behaviour. Don't let yourself fall into depression, or despair.

The way you're going to react from the start will significantly play a role in the way your body will react to the treatments.

Mind and body do interact strongly, and fear will reduce your options and your prospects.
Tags: cancer, fear
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