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Helpful Tips for Someone Newly Diagnosed

A cancer diagnosis is life-altering. Chris' advice encourages us to remain positive and embrace the love of friends and family during this emotional time. 

1. Get to the best National Cancer Institute, if possible. Usually, a training school facility will have the latest treatments available. Sometimes you have to push until it feels uncomfortable to find the newest treatments. This is something we should do in life whether we are decorating our home or finding the best cancer care.

2. Cancer is BIG money business to hospital and treatment centers. You are hiring this professional, so get different opinions until you are comfortable. Remember this doctor will be with you until they die or you die. Does your doctor have the same goals as you do? Do you share the same values?  Remember, YOU know your disease, you can make choices. No one will walk into the room and say they will cure you. You have to fight for the best treatment and care. I interviewed three doctors and asked them questions. The most important question to me was, “if after I listen to your treatment plan, may I choose what I think is best for me?” My doctor answered, “absolutely!”

3. Make doctors aware of your life and your life stories. Make yourself human to them. Make sure your doctor knows you are loved. During my bone marrow transplant, I wore a button every day that said, “I AM LOVED.”

4. Do not consider yourself a statistic. Doctors can only give you their human opinion. My attitude and my family’s love changed my statistics. 

5. Support groups were my lifeline. They know how you feel, making you feel less isolated.

6. Wrap yourself in a blanket of love provided by family and friends.  Allow others to take care of you so you can take care of yourself.

7. You have choices...choose to be POSITIVE!  A positive attitude has everything to do with it!  Choose to make the most out of any situation, but don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day. Forgive yourself and go on.

8. Be honest about your feelings with yourself and share them with family, spouse, and friends. Sometimes saying it out loud allows you to move on.

9. Avoid toxic people. You know who they are. You work with them. You live next door to them. You may even live with them! Put a sign on the front door that reads “Don’t come in if you can’t be POSITIVE!”

10. Financial burdens and giving up work both cause emotional strife. If you can’t work, remember you ARE working. Your job is to heal.

11. Headphones and meditation. I couldn’t have survived without these two. Use your mind, it’s the most powerful tool you have. Learn to relax and understand your body. Let your heart and mind be open to messages.

12. You’re not dying the day you’re diagnosed, so seize the day. Never lose your faith. Never lose hope and believe in prayer. Believe in miracles!

13. My belief is to use the “Biggest Guns” they have, but remember treatment choices are choices that are as unique as your cancer is, and as unique as you are. Life goals, general health, and age are all factors. When we use words like “win” and “lose” with cancer we are setting ourselves up for feelings like “failure”. You make the best choice at the time and don’t look back.

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