• KarenG_WN's Avatar

    KarenG_WN posted a blog post

    Five Tips to Kickstart Your Social Life After Cancer

    You're a Survivor......Now What?
    We all know that cancer causes casualties. But one of the less publicized victims of the disease is the social life of patients. The intense and emotionally draining period shoves everything but survival onto the back burner. In the wake of cancer treatment – even in amid the joy of a NED announcement – it can be more difficult than you think to resuscitate a battered and bruised social life.
    Before cancer showed up, many of us were defined by our social lives – the friends, the activities, the sports, the hobbies … remember the heady days when your health was way down the list of the things you thought about? Back then you were all about what you were doing this weekend, what you and your friends would get up to.
    And then your diagnosis came along and … poof. All of that just went away. Which is only natural. But the question is: when does it come back? And when it does (because it should always be about when your social life comes back, not if), what’s it like?
    According to a recent YouGov survey, 45 percent of the patients who have beaten their disease said that they were fearful that their cancer would return. And over half said that because of this, they feel vulnerable both physically and mentally.
    These feelings can put a major damper on the desire to resume a social life at all. It’s as though you’re walking on eggshells through your life – afraid to resume your life.
    “Many cancer patients struggle with life after treatment,” says Justin Stebbing, professor of cancer medicine and oncology at England’s Imperial College London. “Contrary to many people’s expectations, the challenge of cancer does not end when the treatment finishes and people can be taken by surprise by some of the feelings and side effects they experience.”
    Whether you’re still undergoing treatment, or you’re in remission and still trying to revive your social life, here are some guidelines for getting back out there.
    1. Don’t Get Stuck Indoors

    Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, you need to get out of the house. Sunshine. Trees. Flowers. Fresh air. The positive effects of nature are real. There are actual physical and emotional benefits to just leaving the house and just being part of the world. 
    Squirreling yourself away in the house – no matter how cheerily decorated – can be emotionally stunting. Get out there!
    Breast cancer survivor akwendi shared her feelings about indoors vs outdoors on the WhatNext forum. “I've always been somewhat of a home body and since I live in a cold climate. It was super easy for me to hunker down this winter while going through surgeries and chemo ,” she writes. And it’s not just an excuse; akwendi lives in Alaska! But the arrival of spring has her changing her tune.
    “Spring is now starting to show it's face and I'm on the mend from my bilateral mastectomy,” she says. “I feel like a new woman, and I'm excited to go out and start doing things again.”

    2. Set Goals

    You had goals before your diagnosis, right? Get them back. Goals get you up in the morning. And yes: social goals are still real goals. Decide that you’re going to go out and dip your toe into your old life. It’s OK if you take baby steps.
    “I found that cancer made me more social,” writes WhatNexter BoiseB. “I started going to Bible Study and being active in my church. I have recently joined the YMC. So I am having a better social life than before … I consider I part of the survival process.”

    3. Solidify Plans

    “Cancer has totally ruined whatever social life I had left,” writes WhatNexter Sarasmash. “I don't try and plan with friends anymore, because I just feel like I’m in the way. I can't drink and I can't do much because of my treatments, so I'd rather not get in the way. But, one day, that will be better.” 

    Younger cancer patients often take a bigger hit to their social life than older patients since the social lives of the young tend to be so much more active and robust. That means it’s more important than ever to not let that social life atrophy. It’s especially important for those undergoing cancer treatment or those who have recently gone through treatment to let those vulnerabilities keep them from making concrete plans.

    -Creating a Survivorship Plan For Life after Cancer-

    That means you can’t just Google pictures of the Costa Rica; you have to book the airline tickets. Better yet, include friends in the trip plans, so it’s harder for you to weasel out of the trip. You just spent months taking miserable doses of medicine; now take some medicine that you’ll actually enjoy. It’s just as important.
    4. Exercise

    It’s not enough just to get out there – you’ve got to move around while you’re at it. As long as you check with your doctor and get the OK, you should be exercising. It doesn’t need to be Iron Man competitions. Walk. Go for a light job. Swim. Try yoga. Water aerobics. Most doctors will prefer that you do some exercise, within the restrictions of your physical condition. 

    -Why Starting An Exercise Plan is Easier Than You Think-

    Exercise is a great way to meet and interact with people. These days, it often means meeting with groups of the same people multiple times a week – it’s perfect for jumpstarting your social life.
    5. Rely on Your Support System

    Your social life may be right in front of you. Remember, “social life” doesn’t have to mean painting the town red. It’s just interacting, laughing, talking, and feeding your spirit with the closeness of others. 
    Rene2 wrote on the WhatNext forum that she was surprised that “people who I thought were just acquaintances – people I've known for a long time through work but never spent personal time with … they were the ones who regularly sent cards and texts, and who made a point to welcome me when I returned.”

    -5 Things to Know About Survivorship-

    And those people who were there to help and support you as you worked through treatment will be more than happy to have you back. Wouldn’t it be nice to spend some time with them that didn’t involve something cancer-related? They’d love that, too. “I know I'm very blessed to have the support I have,” Rene2 writes. “Especially my hubby and my kids. Their love and compassion kept me going and helped me heal.”

    How have you gotten your social life back on track in the wake of your cancer treatments? Log onto the WhatNext forums and let us know!

  • KarenG_WN's Avatar

    KarenG_WN posted a blog post

    Guilt: The Hidden Side Effect of Cancer

    My Wife Has Cancer: A Husband and caregiver Shares his Journey

    When asked what emotion a person feels most often when living with cancer as a patient or caregiver, a lot of words come to mind. Sorrow, anxiety, resolve, and desperation are some. Even if you have not faced cancer and were asked the question those words might come to mind. But there is an emotion that comes with the territory that nobody anticipates. It’s guilt .
    After 36 years of marriage and the resolve along the way to become a good husband, guilt had not been a part of my life for a long time. yes…..I did some foolish things as a young man. But with my wife’s forgiveness and maturity, any guilt I felt was gone. So it was with a sound marriage and friendship that I entered the world of cancer with my wife.
    A Caregiver's Guilt
    The guilt started right away. Ann woke up in pain one Sunday morning and was to fly from our home in Detroit to Phoenix where she worked. I was going to drop her at the airport and catch the Lions game on TV. A trip to the emergency room was not in my plans, to say the least….and I grumbled a little bit. “Are you sure?”………..”Can you see someone in Phoenix?” But off to the Hospital, we went with me in a bit of a snit. We had made more than our share of trips to emergency rooms, kidney stone, and premature children being the most serious. I never imagined what was coming next. 
    The next few days were a whirlwind as a cancer diagnosis came to us. For me, the guilt came as a realization and along with it came hating myself. How could I have resented taking her to the Hospital? Why didn’t I go a few more miles to a more capable facility? Did some choice we made cause this? I had to make difficult decisions. I fired a whole Hospital, I yelled at Doctors…..and every inch of the way questioned my own judgment and wondered if I was being driven by guilt at having been less than accepting and gracious.

    So mixed in with the shock and sorrow and fear was guilt. I wasn’t alone. Ann was getting past all those initial feelings and guilt came to visit her in the same way. Had she made some lifestyle choice that caused this? Was it smoking or C-Sections? , was it too much sun or not enough healthy food? Our cancer was rare and deadly. Primary Peritoneal Cancer stage 3C is a death sentence for all but the most fortunate. So while I felt guilty about some of my first thoughts and steps, Ann was busy feeling guilty in a dozen horrible ways.
    A Patient's Guilt
    A cancer patient like my wife feels guilty for having gotten the disease. She feels guilty about the sacrifice that it brings to her Family. She feels guilty for feeling bad, for not getting well, for the financial burden, for not wanting sex, for not being attractive. For the caregiver, guilt takes a while to really soak in. But the longer treatment lasts and the more of your life that is taken away…..the worse it gets.

    I feel like a young man. I am nearly 60 now. Ann is 4 years younger. We have a great marriage and were friends and lovers both. We are now 3 years and 7 months into our life with cancer. I had no concept of what this would be like when we were first diagnosed. But I do now. While Ann has found her way past the guilty feelings, for the most part, mine are just getting worse.
    A caregiver feels guilt in a hundred ways. There is a battle going on every moment of every day inside our heads. Sometimes it just pops out in a way that is truly horrific. Want to know what guilt really feels like? Want to feel guilty in a deeply visceral way? Yell at a Cancer Patient and watch her go into a panic attack. You will hate yourself so deeply it aches. You can curse the selfishness you lost a battle with but mostly you just feel a crushing guilt.
    What is different for the caregiver is that we have to choose every day to continue to fight. The battle is not falling prey to the selfish thoughts and feelings that make us frail and human. Your patient has no choice but to fight, at least most feel that way. Care givers have a choice. I gained 10 lbs and flirted with diabetes…..My doctor advised me “Mitch, you’re not the one that is sick”. So now I am losing weight and feeling better. The guilt that goes with that is the fact that you can’t help but think about being single again. 

    So you miss sex, and intimacy, and laughter with your friends. Cancer can last the rest of your life and nobody told you what that was going to be like. So you find yourself doing the dishes with a grimace, feeling guilty about that, while your wife sits on the couch and feels guilty because she can’t do them.
    Want some care giver guilt? Begrudge the price of the bucket list, think about being single and broke and alone and feeling guilty for thinking that sucks. Temptation and selfishness are constantly at your shoulder. You have earned the right to your own vacation, but guilt will not let you go. The wife gives you permission she really doesn’t mean to go “bark at the moon”. You can’t do it. There is a special place in hell for a man that cheats on his dying wife…….isn’t there?
    Long-term cancer patients know how friends and family tire of the battle. It’s human nature. They slowly stop coming around or calling so often. Cancer patients often feel like crap and are not fun to hang with. Caregivers have a choice and know in our hearts we have to keep making the right ones, no matter how difficult. 
    Not all husbands and caregivers have the strength to keep up the fight. I can understand the increase in divorce from women who have survived Breast or Ovarian cancer. It changes the patient and their partner for ever. At a young age some folks decide that forever being what it is, they have to move on.
    As guilty as I feel for all my selfish thoughts, as terrible as the battle against cancer is, I just don’t think I could live with myself if I turned my back. I have often thought that giving Ann this time and sacrifice was part of Karma and returning her faith given me early in our marriage. Caregivers look for justification and reason just like patients do.
    We are now nearing the end of our third cycle of chemotherapy. The Doxcil she takes has terrible side effects. When they tell you the effects of chemo are cumulative, they mean it. Now there is a therapy that did not exist before her diagnosis. The side effects are not so bad. Perhaps getting past 5 years is possible now. Now I get to feel guilty for wishing it would end, knowing that it won’t anytime soon. There is more sacrifice ahead. I pray that the gods of the universe keep me strong against selfishness……..because there is one thing I know for sure…………My lovely Ann would do the same for me.
    Related Articles
    My Wife Has Cancer - A Husband and Caregiver's Story

    10 Things Only a Caregiver May Relate To

    12 Signs of Caregiver Burnout

  • KarenG_WN's Avatar

    KarenG_WN posted a blog post

    Is it Too Late for a Second Opinion?

    The second opinion is standard operating procedure once you discover that you’re going to be a cancer patient. And it’s an important step. Cancer patients are encouraged – perhaps more than people with any other condition – to get second and even third opinions before starting treatment.

    The reason second opinions are so crucial is that it’s possible to get a slightly different diagnosis, which, of course, would then alter the course of one’s recommended treatment.
    But WhatNexter KC49 posed an interesting question on the forums: is it ever too late to get a second opinion?
    KC49 writes that he’s already been through chemo and radiation and that his tumors are stable. But he wonders if it’s possible to get, for want of a better term, a second, second opinion. “Does it seem too late to get a second opinion because my tumors are stable? Or should I just be glad I am where I am?”

    Well, the simple answer is that it’s never too late to get a second opinion. After all, it’s your body. But there are traditional points during your treatment when second opinions are generally sought. 

    Here’s a breakdown of them: After a Complete Pathology Report
    Even one small mistake in reading a pathology report by a testing lab, or by the pathologist can have a profound impact on the course of your treatment.
    Before Having Surgery
    Once again, the accuracy of the reading of imaging is the key. So getting your imaging – ultrasounds, MRIs, mammograms, etc – analyzed by another radiologist is always a good idea. Because these images will be the roadmaps for your surgery. What’s more, you may want to get a second opinion based on what kind of surgical procedure that your treatment team is recommending. For example: should you choose lumpectomy or mastectomy? Because once the surgery is completed, the deed is done. And that’s it.
    When Training Postoperative Treatment
    Postoperative surgical options can include radiation treatment, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, others. When your treatment team arrives at a plan, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion before you start.
    During Treatment
    Believe it or not, it actually is advisable to get a second opinion even in the middle of your treatment. Maybe the chosen treatment plan isn’t working as expected. Maybe you’re having a bad reaction to the treatment. Or maybe you’re just getting that sneaking suspicion that your treatment team isn’t the best at what they do – and you deserve the best, right?
    After Treatment
    Yes, even after your treatment, it’s fine to seek a second opinion. And for any reason. Get another doctor and treatment team to review the results of your treatment and your diagnosis.
    So if you’ve been paying attention, you’re getting the idea that the “common points” in the process to seek a second opinion are, well … practically any time you like. No one will discourage you for looking for a different opinion. And most WhatNexters agree: it’s never too late for a second opinion. And many members wrote that exact phrase: “it’s never too late.” In fact, since your doctors won’t keep you from getting a second opinion at any time, and it’s mostly your decision, there’s really only one barrier that would keep you from getting another opinion: your insurance company.
    In the past, many insurance companies would balk at ponying up the money for a second opinion – especially after treatment’s been completed. But that’s beginning to change. WhatNexter BuckeyeShelby writes that, in her experience, “most policies no longer require a referral – especially if it’s a PPO or an HMO.”

    In the case of veteran WhatNext poster BoiseB, “My insurance company even helped me find second opinions from their provider list.”

    So now that you know the time for a second opinion is pretty much any time you prefer, the question is this: what do you expect to get from the process? If you’re unhappy with your current treatment team, the answer is obvious.
    If nothing else, what a second opinion will give you is confidence. If you get an independent verification that tells you that your treatment is on the right path. And confidence is important for your morale as you make the journey through your treatment. Have you ever sought a second opinion during the course of your cancer treatment? Tell us about it on the WhatNext forums!

  • KarenG_WN's Avatar

    KarenG_WN posted a blog post

    Cancer Related Pet Peeves

    Pet peeves: we’ve all got them. Some of us have more than others. Maybe it’s the way your husband puts the toilet paper on the roller (the only right way is “over” – with the paper in front – by the way). Maybe it’s that your wife doesn’t screw the top on the milk all the way.

    And you probably thought that once you were diagnosed with cancer, your focus on the “little things” would vanish; you likely figured that battling cancer would surely make any tiny annoyances seem silly. Which, of course, it does.
    But what you didn’t realize is that fighting cancer is a marathon, not a sprint. And after the shock of the diagnosis wears off, and the long grind of treatments starts to become, like every-day life, mundane. And just like in every-day life, little things about life with cancer will start to annoy you, and you end up with a whole new list of pet peeves.
    Cancer-related pet peeves run the gamut. Some are funny, some are serious. But everyone’s got ‘em.
    “I don't have a shortcut on my pet peeves,” writes WhatNexter PaulineJ. “It’s everything to do with doctors in medical and dental, hospitals, pharmacy, drugs, prescriptions, and insurance … But this is the world we live in for now.”

    Here’s just a smattering of some of the the WhatNext community’s top pet peeves. And trust us when we say, “this is just the beginning” – this collection barely scratches the surface.
    Peeves About Dumb Things People Say To Cancer Patients

    “My pet peeve right now is the people who keep trying to reassure me that maybe I won't lose my hair,” writes BevLand. “’My aunt/friend/sister" had chemo and did not loose her hair.’ I know they are trying to comfort me but I am trying to come to terms with it and need to anticipate that I am in order to deal with it.”

    Bug from the WhatNext Forums, writes that her sister talked her ear off during an hour-long phone call, spewing a litany of personal complaints. She then wrapped up by saying to her sister Bug – a breast cancer survivor, “And you think you have problems.” The fact that Bug was merely peeved by this speaks volumes about the lady’s capacity for calm and forgiveness.
    For DoreenLouise, the peeve isn’t what other people say; it’s what her co-workers don’t want to hear. “That I am not allowed to talk about my cancer at work because it upsets my co-workers,” writes DoreenLouise. “There are 12 employees in the law firm. Only 2 people ever ask how I am doing, and only in private.”

    Medical Peeves

    When you’re in-and-out of hospitals more than the doctors and nurses, you get familiar with medical situations. And familiarity tends to breed contempt. Or, at least, pet peeves.
    Being treated like a cog is gets GregP_WN ticked off. “I have gone to a lot of trouble before to get all my mountain of records sent to the new guy that would be following me for annual checkups,” he writes. “And then he walks into the room and wants to know 'have you had cancer? Oh, gee, what kind?’ READ THE DAMN CHART!”

    Sometimes a patient’s peeve is actually an insightful critique of the state of cancer treatment. Cards7up who has lung cancer, writes that she hates “having to deal with those in the medical community that should have more info than me … and finding out they don't!”

    Similarly, barryboomer finds that “many times, we the patient have to chose what to do. That is ridiculous.”
    BoiseB’s complaints are those of a hardened vet of many hospital visits. “The chairs in the exam rooms and waiting rooms seem to come from a medieval torture chamber,” she writes. “And why do the exam rooms have to have those gross anatomy pictures in the office? Much worse, why do they have a picture of your scans running on the computer monitor right as you walk in?”

    Peeves About Cancer Cliches

    “My pet peeve about cancer is the language of war used to describe it,” writes Anniekell. “The language and metaphors of war are antithetical to the energy of healing. I'm not a "warrior," I'm not "battling" anything, and I don't intend to "fight."

    “’You look healthy, you don't look like you have cancer’” is something Whitey61 hears a lot. “Sometimes we get stereotyped as having to look yellow, thin, very sickly looking the final stages of disease for people to understand,” he writes. “But we are the very healthy-looking folks out there among you that are still living our life with this hidden monster.”
    Peeves About the Cancer Life

    Bottom line: being in treatment can suck. And that leads to peeves. Fashion1102’s peeves are “side effects from treatments and having to stay in the house like a prisoner! I want to be out & about and proud again!”

    You’ve got a pet peeve about the world of cancer, right? Share yours on the WhatNext forums.

  • KarenG_WN's Avatar

    KarenG_WN posted a blog post

    Living With Breast Cancer

    There are several types of breast cancer. Most breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas, which originate in the milk ducts of the breast before spreading to other parts of the breast. Other types include ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which originates in milk ducts but has not yet spread; and invasive lobular carcinoma, which begins in milk-producing glands. Symptoms of breast cancer can include a lump, swelling of all or part of a breast, skin irritation or dimpling, breast or nipple pain, nipple retraction, redness, and nipple discharge (other than breast milk). Breast cancer is often treated with a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and/or chemotherapy. The survival rate for breast cancer can vary depending on stage of diagnosis, type of treatment, and other factors.

    For more information on breast cancer, read the American Cancer Society's Detailed Guide.

    If you have been affected by breast cancer, please be sure to take some time to read others' experiences, share your own experiences, and ask or answer questions. Don't forget to view our Beginner's Guide to Cancer.
    Follow @WhatNext_Cancer

    Do you have experience with breast cancer? Join now to share your journey!

    Breast Cancer and Sex

    Breast Cancer Treatment and Sex

    Breast Cancer and Your Body

    Self-Care and Sexuality with Breast Cancer

    Redefining Sexuality with Breast Cancer

    Sexual Communication with Breast Cancer

    Test your knowledge! Cancer trivia

    Courage with Brenda Snow

    Breast Cancer Videos

  • KarenG_WN's Avatar

    KarenG_WN posted a blog post

    21 More Tips For The Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patient

    Once you or a loved one are faced with a cancer diagnosis, you have so many questions, fears and concerns. How am I going to get through this? Where do I begin? It's scary and not easy. We've turned to our WhatNexters, and asked them what advice they would give to someone who is newly diagnosed with cancer and needs support. They've been through it, hopefully their words of wisdom can help.

    1. Assemble your team. They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a team to beat cancer. Once you accept you have cancer and have a journey in front of you, it's time to assemble your team. The team isn't just doctors and nurses, but also family and friends, and even strangers. There are so many aspects of the journey ahead that you can never prepare for. Accepting help and gathering a support system is critical. It also helps to know you are not alone in the journey. -- CarolLHRN
    2. Know who you can let your guard down with. Emotional health is so important and often ignored by many providers. Make sure you have someone to talk with and don't be afraid of all the emotions you will experience from fear and sadness to laughter and joy and everything in between. To have the strength to move through the journey, your mind has to be strong too. -- CarolLHRN
    3. Be selfish. Be very selfish, you need to put yourself first. Put together a laundry list of things that need to get done now and tell a friend. It is perfectly OK to do so. Then, let go all the negative thoughts, acts and things. -- cranburymom
    4. Take control. This is your life and you control what is done to you. Ask questions. challenge answers, and research what you are told. Second and third opinions are good choices. Keep your family close, thank well-wishers, trust in God, and deal with the emotions as they come along. -- emtp12
    5. Give yourself a break. So what if your house isn't perfect, the cupboard is bare, or you don't have clean underwear, you can worry about all of that later. Don't be afraid to accept help, if people don't really want to help they shouldn't offer, I personally didn't go to Wal-Mart for months and my husband and I survived, so what if he bought the wrong brand of toilet paper. Also, it is ok to freak out, it is ok to be scared, and it is ok to be angry. You also have to do everything you can to make educated decisions and do what is right for you. Don't second guess yourself. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know. -- grams2jc
    6. You are alive - live! Remember that you are still alive and your family needs you. Be selfish with your energy level and with doing things that are not totally necessary, but hoard what you do have to make time for your close friends and family. It's so easy to fall into depression and to be overwhelmed, but right now you are still here and you need to treasure that time! -- danellsar
    7. Take care of yourself, and that means crying, too. Allow yourself to freak out and cry once in a while. But give yourself a certain time of day to do it. Allow it to own a place in your life, give it it's own freedom and then put it away and focus on your goals. Take care of your body - eat well, get the rest you need when you need and by all means rely on the kindness of others. No one knows what to do with you. They try to help and sometimes it seems overwhelming but the relief you experience by just saying "yes" even if it's not in your nature and just allowing and letting go of it all. Sharing it with others is a way of healing. You need to get the disease out of your body. -- kimjx6
    8. Have a positive attitude. Realize you are not alone. There are many of us in the same boat. Cancer does suck but in most cases it is definitely beatable-so gear up for a fight and keep positive. Push the worries aside and focus on each day as a gift, smell some roses, then just keep living your life. Life gets back to semi-normal--but you do change. Some good, some not so good. So watch the poor me syndrome, and finish the race. --indyeastside

    9. Be ready for anything. I am losing my sight and at times my will. I am not a weak person but I do cry. It makes me feel better to get that stuff out even if the hurt feelings and worrying thoughts will come back. -- flyglo
    10. Surround yourself with others who support you. If there aren't any, go find some. You play a huge part in your healing. Tell yourself you're going to be ok until you believe it. I dealt with losing my hair by praying, so when it was time to cut it, I was ok and I didn't cry. This should change your life for the better! It should change your perspective on life and make you realize what's really important. Only look at the positives. -- RebeccaLynn25
    11. For Nausea -  I took Zofran and also bought queasy pops.... nausea was very minimal....you can get the queasy pops online....also the center will provide snacks and juice but I usually brought my own that I knew I could tolerate and a good movie on my iPad...it is not as bad as you think.. - rdy2trvl

    12. How to control the fear of recurrence - The fear never goes away completely, but you learn to manage how you let or NOT let if affect your life. I took up running in my late 40's ... doesn't work for everyone but it does for me ... find a hobby or project ... keeping your mind busy and off your troubles goes a long way. - BELLA2013

    13. Never give up HOPE - Never give up hope...it is the last candle fluttering in the darkness while all the others have gone out. - Russ

    14. Set up Google Alerts - Set up a Google search for your type of cancer and use different ways to title each item..this will give you new and published information on your type of cancer..and never ever take medical advice from people on blogs.- CAS1

    15. Get a second opinion -  Seek out a specialist who treats your specific type of cancer, and consider getting a second opinion before treatments start. - Lynne-I-Am

    16. Try to control worry - Use your energy to handle what is now, waste none of it on worry about what might be coming up next. - laradactyl 

    17. Keep moving and doing the things you love to do - If there's something you really, really want to do and you have the energy, go for it. It will pick you up unbelievably and lift your spirits to the sky. For me, it was getting on a horse in the middle of radiation after not being on for over 3 years. The whole world turned around in such a positive way at that point. - Jesse0218

    18. Be your own advocate - This is the time you have to become your own advocate, if you question your doctors..seek second opinion, ask questions if you don't understand what they're telling you, bring a friend/family member to appointments so they can write stuff down, your going to get overwhelmed by everything. It's your body and you and only you know what doesn't feel right, tell them ( doctors) and keep repeating it if you have to, until someone listens. - diaturtles

    19. Learn about your type of cancer - Knowledge is power. Power over fear. Find out as much about your cancer as you can and there will be less to fear. - Dan7264

    20. Keep a detailed calendar. - Get a calendar and write all your medical stuff in it. All radiation and chemo dates, doctor appointments, surgeries. One calendar for every year. Keep everything pertaining to your newly diagnosed cancer in this calendar, even your scripts for medication and tests (CT scan, MRIs, Bone Density, MUGA, etc. I have 6 calendars since the beginning of January 2009. I refer back to them - - they might be better record keepers than your physician or oncologist. - jene1835

    21. Follow your Doctor's orders, take your meds - Once you've found the right doctor and decided on your course of treatment take your meds, especially those for nausea and pain. If you are stronger and not in pain your fight will be a little easier. Prayers. - Maddy61

    Do you have any suggestions? Please comment below or join the conversation.
    If you've been diagnosed with cancer, take a minute to join the WhatNext community and find others near you who have been in your shoes. There’s no better way to get first-hand insights into living with cancer than by connecting with others who are currently doing just that.