Best Advice I Received Following My Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Last updated: July 2020
When someone receives a cancer diagnosis, it feels like the world stops. They lose touch with what life looked like before cancer. In a way, yes, life does look totally different, but that does not mean that you do not know how to survive this. Sometimes survival means going back to basics.
To hear more about what is working for you, we reached out on the LungCancer.net community to ask: What is the best advice you have received since your or your loved one's diagnosis?
More than 50 of you shared what is working for you. Here is what you said.
Avoid the Internet
The Internet can offer a wealth of encouragement, from online support communities to tips on eating healthier to discovering new treatment options -- but it can also be a black hole of scary information. For most people, the statistics can be hard to sit with, so why subject yourself to them? If you already know you are doing everything in your power to live, then it does not matter what has happened to other people. As someone in the community said -- someone has to be part of the survival statistics.
“Stay off the Internet. Do not look up the cancer.”
“My doctor also told me not to look at survival rates online.”
“Do not Google statistics.”
Your cancer is not your fault
Whenever anything bad happens, it can be a natural response to blame ourselves. But that does not mean we deserve the blame. Hardly. Cancer, like the weather, sometimes just happens. For whatever reason, it showed up, and getting angry at ourselves will not help. What we need to show ourselves is compassion and understanding. Because this is a hard situation to deal with, and the sooner you are gentler with yourself, the more comfort you may feel during this challenging time.
"My wise oncologist told me at our first meeting that my stage IV non-smoker cancer was a result of ‘nothing that you have done, and nothing you have not done’ meaning that I did not cause this from not having eaten enough kale or whatever else."
Eat even if you're not hungry
It is important to keep your strength up, even when it feels like an impossible chore to do so. Your body needs nutrition to function, so regular meals help. Plus, regular meals can keep you on a schedule, which many people find comforting. Likewise, most people living with cancer can participate in some form of exercise, such as walking or swimming, which keeps the blood flowing and keeps your strength up. Best of all, it is good for your emotional wellbeing.
“To eat even if I am not hungry and to walk more. That way I will have the strength to fight it long term.”
“Eat healthy foods that fight inflammation.”
So, so often, the advice in dealing with cancer is to stay positive, but people do not always share how they gain a positive attitude. Staying upbeat can often be the result of doing a series of small acts that help us feel good. For many of you, those acts include meditating, praying, practicing yoga, and doing other practices that lead you to feel fulfilled and peaceful.
“To stay centered spiritually by doing meditation, yoga, prayer, Reiki, knitting, volunteering, gardening... whatever helps.”
“Do meditation. Read Joe Dispensa’s book ‘I am the Placebo.’”
Each day is a gift. If we focus on our anxieties about the future, we may be too paralyzed to enjoy what we can today -- whether that is a day at the beach or an afternoon spent gardening. It may take work to summon the energy to do the pastimes we love or to rally to do something fun, but we almost certainly will appreciate it during and after. After all, life is so much more than just surviving between doctor visits.
“Learn to live with cancer. A friend told me this when I was just diagnosed. The more I think about this now that it is 4.5 years later, the more I think it is very wise.”
“I was told to continue doing what I had been doing and to also do things I had always wanted to do.”
“Live for today. Do not worry about tomorrow until it comes.”
Continue the conversation
We want to say thank you to everyone who shared. It is our hope that others in the community find strength and encouragement from your words.
In the comments, tell us what the best advice you have received since your or your loved one's diagnosis?
Beside manner matters! What has your experience been?