You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live. — Stuart Scott
"You have cancer" is one of the most terrifying sentences in the English language.
If you are one of the estimated 1.8 million people who hear that sentence each year, I have a few things to say to you . . .
1. I'm so sorry.
2. The fear you're experiencing right now is real and valid.
3. This isn't your fault and it isn't fair.
4. You do not have to go through this alone.
5. You are so much stronger than you know.
Cancer is one of life's biggest challenges, dividing the narrative of your life to "before" and "after" your diagnosis. Cancer is not pretty and it is not fun, but there is a silver lining. It is during this time that you truly learn how strong and resilient you really are. You learn what is really important to you and how to ask for help when you need it. You make beautiful, lasting connections with other people on a deeper level than before. So while this period of life will bring unwanted change, challenges, and moments of suffering it also provides opportunity for reflection, adjustment, and deeper meaning in lived experiences.
Do you need counseling during or after cancer treatment?
If you are wondering if cancer counseling can help you, ask yourself the following questions.
Are you unsure how to tell your family, friends, or employer that you have cancer?
Are you experiencing heightened anxiety or symptoms of stress when thinking about your diagnosis or attending medical appointments?
Are you worried about the possibility of dying and fear what comes next?
Are you unsure how to get your affairs in order and talk to family members about your will or final wishes?
Are you and your caregiver not on the same page when it comes to what you need and how you want to be cared for?
Are you having trouble adjusting your daily routine around medical appointments and side effects from treatments?
Are you feeling overwhelmed and have trouble taking medication regularly, dealing with insurance companies, or remembering important information?
Are you unsure about what your life will look like after cancer?
Are you feeling as if cancer has given you the opportunity to make changes and live a better life, but are unsure where to start?
Are you struggling to find the growth opportunity in this incredibly difficult experience?
Are you a survivor that is struggling to find meaning in your experience of cancer?
Are you surprised at how difficult "survivorship" can be?
Are you searching guidance in your cancer journey and would like help developing a road map that is in line with your values and goals?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you'll most likely benefit from cancer counseling.
Everyone faces this challenge in their own way. However, the short answer to this question is, most likely, yes. Everyone can benefit from additional support during times of high stress, anxiety, and trauma. Going through cancer highly stressful and can bring up mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, PTSD symptoms, grief, and more, even if you didn't struggle prior to diagnosis. Even if you have beat cancer and are in remission or past that 5 year mark, the cancer experience can produce lasting anxiety and emotional challenges that can be greatly helped by counseling.