Cancer is a formidable foe, and it sometimes can make the brightest personalities feel dark. However, despite about 350,000 Americans being diagnosed with cancer each year (according to the Huffington Post), there’s still hope for many patients thanks to new treatments and a positive outlook.
Meanwhile, in Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society has declared April as Daffodil Month to help raise money for families affected by the deadly disease. This bright yellow flower is a “symbol of strength and courage” for those battling cancer, notes the society. So with that flower in mind, here are six brighter ways to fight back…
1. Live One Moment At a Time
WhatNext.com has a number of entries from cancer patients talking about what helps them through their treatments. One of them notes that it helps to recognize that you’re going to have doubts and moments of despair, but to let them come and go. “They are just that. Moments,” it notes.
At the same time, there are many positive moments and little victories, so make sure you also let yourself enjoy those, it adds. Don’t dwell on the treatments, or the fact you have a disease. “Always keep moving forward,” notes the site.
2. Take Inspiration from Survivors
Who better to be a cheerleader for you than those who have fought a battle with cancer, and won? The American Cancer Society has encouraging words from survivors, or perhaps there’s someone you know who has had the experience and can help guide you.
The website has stories from a variety of survivors, and one in particular named Jamie who survived non-Hodgkin lymphoma offers, “What helped get me through was my innate and very deep love for life mostly, my belief that life is worth fighting for, as well as my knowledge that even cancer is treatable and beatable.”
3. Stay in Touch With Friends
Not only can friends be a valuable support network and source of advice, they can also help lift any depression that may settle in while you’re undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, notes CancerCode.org.
It says when you’re feeling down, “socializing with other people may seem like the least inviting prospect imaginable,” but remember they just want to provide company and lend an ear. Maintaining a regular routine (as much as possible) while chatting with friends or visiting can help you through the darkest moments.
4. Use Creative Outlets
Even if you’ve never had an artistic flair, you can use art therapy to help you express how you’re feeling while creating something beautiful. CityofHope.org notes that expressing how you really feel can be difficult for some in a traditional setting, and that art allows you to be candid about your true emotions.
Art therapy is actually a mental health approach, but the site notes it’s often used to brighten the lives of cancer patients in an individual or group setting. “Patients and their families who participate report reduced stress, anxiety and depression, alleviation of pain and improved overall well-being,” it notes.
5. Allow Yourself More Rest
Even if you feel like you have to tackle the world, or you’re somehow failing by wanting to sleep more, it’s important to get as much rest as possible while going through treatment, notes 21st Century Oncology.
Proper sleep will help keep negative emotions at bay. “One of the leading causes of anxiety is lack of sleep and not feeling rested and alert can lead to poor decisions and negatively affect your mood,” notes the source. It will also help your treatment plan be more effective, it adds.
6. Stay Informed About the Process
TheDailyPositive.com notes that the “unknown” can make the fear of cancer treatment seem worse, so it’s important to ask a lot of questions to your healthcare team (this will also help calm the anxieties of your loved ones, so they can also become a source of reassurance).
Having a better understanding of your diagnosis will help give you a clearer picture of what to expect, it notes. “The more information you have, the fewer questions you will have,” it reads. Then you can get to the important business of picturing what you’ll be able to accomplish once the treatment is finished.