You know, even on some days your lucky rocketship underpants don't help. Everyone gets a few bad cards dealt to them in life, and some seem to end up with the whole deck. This writer has been through a 3 year struggle with cancer and has come out with a few tips for others in the midst of their struggle.
1. You are not your cancer. It does not define you. Just like you don't walk into a bar and say, "Hi I am Joe and I like women and am here to look for one," you cannot wear your diagnoses on your sleeve. First of all, it could potentially make others feel awkward. Or it could immediately give them preconceived notions about you. Maybe they had a loved one who didn't make it and had a truly horrible experience. Most people remember the negatives in all situations, so remember, you are much much more than your cancer.
2. Listen to your doctors. They are smart (yes of course they are, but sometimes they seem pretty clueless). Even if they have horrible interpersonal skills and <5 minutes per visit, they are trying their best to cure you.
3. On that note, take the drugs. They might make you smell, vomit, lose weight, get bald and turn colors. And that SUCKS, I know, but they're made for a reason. Plus, the enormous pharmaceutical industry doesn't exist for nothing; there is likely a treatment to help you with your side effects.
4. Laugh. Ever pulled out your own facial hair? Laugh about it. Ever wanted to wear a totally ridiculous mullet wig, even if you're an 85 year old grandma...here's your chance. And nobody cares if you fart or burp, in fact, they are probably happy because it means your digestive system is actually working.
5. Dream. Keep dreaming. Nothing makes it harder to sleep or even get out of bed than dwelling on the negative. Find a new hobby, use your hands to make something and dream about life in the future.
6. Don't give up the things you love. Sure, you might not run marathons for a while, or take those amazing trips abroad, but don't give up the little things. You like a nice glass of scotch now and then? Drink it. Going organic, cutting out all vice, and spending money on new cancer clothes aren't going to cure you. If it made you happy before, try your very best to continue it.
7. Ask for help. And if you have cancer, you know...it is almost annoying (it isn't, but it comes close!) how every friend and even remote acquaintances will tell you that they'll do anything to help you out. Take up a few of these people on their offers. I am not suggesting you exploit people, but sometimes you may not have the energy to cook a meal. Ask a pal. You may not be able to drive, set up a driver schedule.
8. Don't forget that the cancer isn't only affecting you. Your spouse, children and friends all deal with it as well. And they may deal with things differently than you. Cry more, cry less, deny everything or dwell on death, gloom and doom. And all of that is OK and normal. If your wife needs time to herself OR constant hugs, try your best to help her. Beating cancer is a team sport.
9. Get lots of good books, movies and music. Much like the old Army adage, cancer patients must "hurry up and wait," A LOT.
10. Breath. I know, how cliche. But millions of others are sick and going through the same kind of stuff as you. And millions MORE have beat it.