by GEMMA CROTTY
A cancer diagnosis always results in shock and confusion for both patient and their loved ones.
But with ovarian cancer, dubbed the ‘silent killer’ of cancers, there are usually no obvious symptoms until later stages.
Because of this, there is a heightened sense of fear associated with this form of cancer. It is also normal to feel:
But when it seems like everything’s falling apart, it’s especially important to maintain a healthy mentality and consider a readjustment of perspective.
Cancer patients may get tired of the pressure to maintain a positive outlook on their diagnosis, and this is especially true when the physical and emotional burdens of cancer become too much to deal with.
In such a time, thinking good thoughts may neither be a patient’s priority, nor be effective in alleviating their physical suffering, but it could, at the very least, help them cope and get through their ordeal.
Often when cancer patients hear the phrase, ‘thinking positively’, they think this means being in denial about their diagnosis and its potential outcomes.
However, as some patients have demonstrated, a healthy balance may be achieved by acknowledging one’s illness, yet choosing not to dwell on it every minute. It’s impossible to know what will happen in the long-term, so try to focus on the present.
One tactic that could help when you are overwhelmed with negative thoughts, is having a mantra to repeat to yourself. This should be something easy to remember for maximum effectiveness, and could even be part of a book or movie quote. For example, one patient revealed her mantra to be, ‘Just keep swimming’.
Maintaining a Sense of Normality
One piece of advice that has worked for some ovarian cancer patients is to try to assume a sense of normality in your life. Although you can’t ignore your diagnosis completely, you may be able to choose whether it affects certain aspects of your life.
This may mean different things, depending on what works for you.
For example, simply going about your everyday tasks could keep you from thinking about your diagnosis too much. It is a great idea to keep busy and motivated by setting goals for yourself.
Additionally, at work, you might choose to not tell your workmates about your illness so that you’re not treated any differently.
Further, you might like to ask friends and family to limit their questions and comments about your diagnosis.
But it also be a change of mindset – try accepting that, while your circumstances have changed, this is your new normal.
Letting Yourself Feel Negative Emotions
Despite all of this, it simply isn’t realistic to forget about the worries and concerns that come with having cancer.
That’s why you shouldn’t feel guilty about being anxious or sad, nor about letting your loved ones see you like that.
Talk to your loved ones about any anxiety you may be feeling, but if you are burdened with ongoing depression then you should ensure to seek help through appropriate means, such as a counsellor or a psychologist.
Gemma Crotty is a volunteer blog writer for Solaris Cancer Centre from her home in Melbourne. Currently studying a Graduate Diploma in Communication at La Trobe University, she is considering a career in communications or journalism. Gemma has a strong humanities research background from her Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Sydney. She has a keen passion for writing and likes to find new ways to hone her skills and connect to others through her words.