Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Everything changes immediately after hearing the words, “you have cancer.”  The world seems to stop in that moment and you are paralyzed by fear.   Be patient with yourself and allow yourself time to adjust.  There are many important decisions to make, do not make them in haste.  Carefully consider your options as you choose your healthcare team, manage prescriptions and treatment options and navigate financial and insurance concerns.  Focus on what you can control and create an action plan that includes the following steps to live your best life with cancer.   

  • Communicate with your healthcare team.  Learn as much as you can about your diagnosis.   If you are experiencing short- or long-term side effects, let them know.  Do not suffer in silence.
  •  Eat well.   Recognize that cancer and its treatment may cause side effects that make it difficult to eat.  Aim for 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables daily.  Include citrus, dark green and yellow vegetables. Whole grains, beans and lentils helps to fuel the body.  Limit high fat foods and snack frequently through out the day with power snacks.
  • Hydrate.  Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration helps regulate body temperature, aids in the absorption of vitamins and nutrients and  promotes optimal organ function.
  • Stay active.  Walking to the mailbox, lifting soup-can-weights or hitting the gym, physical activity is important. When you exercise, you are present in the moment and less focused on worries. Discuss  physical activity options with your doctor for an approved exercise plan.
  • Get enough sleep.   Insufficient sleep makes coping with challenges difficult.  Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep per night for optimal function.
  • Practice gratitude.   People who approach life with a positive attitude are less stressed.  Make a mental list of the things you are grateful for every night before you sleep.
  •  Get Organized: Feeling out of control is driven by disorganization. Which adds to general stress.  Reduce clutter and get organized.  You will focus on more important things.
  • Learn relaxation techniques.   Studies show that people who meditate regularly (even just three minutes!) feel calmer and more in control. Try yoga. Take a walk-in nature. Sit quietly. Spend time with your pet.  Try mindfulness.
  • Say “No” When Necessary: Boundaries are important. Do not feel bad when you feel like you need to say no. Avoid taking on more than you can commit to and do not feel guilty about it.
  • Lean on Your Support System: Stay connected with family and friends.  This leads to less stress and better coping ability. Do not be afraid to ask for support during these times.

Written by: Beth Stefura, OSU Extension Educator, Mahoning County stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Jenny Lobb, OSU Extension Educator, Franklin County  lobb.3@osu.edu

References:

https://cancer.osu.edu

https://www.cancer.org

https://www.cancer.gov

Read Full Post »

One of my friends underwent a cancer biopsy this week. She is waiting the results of a pathology lab for diagnosis. Will it be cancer with a treatment plan of some sort, or will her results be benign?

Waiting on results from an important medical test or pathology report is enough to make anyone’s anxiety soar. It seems the waiting is sometimes worse than the diagnosis. The unknown. The period of limbo. Holding your breath… afraid to exhale.

doctor-1228629_960_720

When the stakes are high, waiting on a diagnosis can escalate stress and take a toll on you. A study from the National Institute of Health found that awaiting diagnosis of cancer after a biopsy was associated with higher anxiety than waiting for invasive and potentially risky treatment. This stress can weaken one’s immune system and slow healing. The longer the wait time, the more anxiety tends to increase. Thanks to online medical portals and new technology in diagnosis, sometimes the wait time is shortened. Part of the struggle in the waiting is the feeling of vulnerability and helplessness. Once you receive a diagnosis, you can at least work with your doctor to implement a treatment plan. But what can you do while you’re waiting?

journal

You can do some pre-diagnostic coping to help yourself reduce anxiety.

  • Do whatever has helped you reduce stress in the past.
  • Eat healthy during times of stress.
  • Distract yourself with a good book, a hobby, work, or a good movie.
  • Try meditation and journaling.
  • Keep the situation in perspective, don’t awful-ize it!
  • Mindful breathing can be a life-saver.
  • Find support in family, friends, support groups, mental health counselor and faith-based organizations.

As I write this blog article, my friend is still awaiting her results. She seems to be handling it well and when I asked her how, she responded… “I woke up the morning of my biopsy with this phrase in my head: ‘God’s got this, I’m just along for the ride.’” Her faith is a source of support for her, along with family, friends and co-workers. These same sources of support will continue to be there for her even after diagnosis, whatever it may be.

If you are awaiting medical results (or any other big potentially stressful news) surround yourself with support and don’t hesitate to ask for help. And keep breathing… deeply.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County.

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County.

Sources:

Barlage, L. Have you tried “Journaling” your Stressors?? Live Healthy Live Well. 2015, May 15.

Brinkman, P. Eating Better During Stressful Times. Live Healthy Live Well. 2015, May 7.

Carter, S. Don’t Awful-ize It! Live Smart Ohio. 2015, Sep 11.

Carter, S. Breathing… Live Smart Ohio. 2015, July 31.

Flory N & Lang E. Distress in the radiology waiting room. Radiology. 2011 Jul;260(1):166-73. doi: 10.1148/radiol.11102211. Epub 2011 Apr 7.

Lang E, Berbaum K & Lutgendorf S. Large-core breast biopsy: abnormal salivary cortisol profiles associated with uncertainty of diagnosis. Radiology. 2009 Mar;250(3):631-7. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2503081087.

 

Read Full Post »