Coping With Cancer And Your Feelings

How To Cope With Cancer And Your Feelings

Coping With Cancer 

coping with cancerIt's not easy to cope with cancer when you go to the doctor and he tells you that you have cervical cancer. I'll be honest with you, it still bewilders me how to this day,  I still have no idea how, what was said, or where.

It's like my mind just went blank and I had no thoughts or feelings. However; do remember that I hesitated a good couple hours before I let my husband call my parents.

 It was such a shock that we didn't know where to go, who to call, nothing. It was like a bomb just went off and there was no way out and I was trapped.

Should you tell your family and friends you have cancer? In my opinion, yes- tell your family and friends First of all, it's their right to know; secondly, it can help you get it off your shoulders. You can't hold something like that in, and you must tell your family you have cancer.

My husband called my family and said he needed to tell them something and it was important and set a time for them to come over. It wasn't something he told them over the phone. We sat them down and explained to them what was going on.

Having cervical cancer, I should have never even thought that was a stupid question to ask what I ate or if I slept that day, but at the time, I didn't care. All I knew is that I had to deal with this awful disease and didn't know how. I had a baby to take care of and was still almost a newlywed.

Coping with cancer of any kind, might be the hardest thing you ever do. Know that it's okay to feel overwhelmed, angry, sad or every emotion possible. Each patient takes the news differently and there is no "right way" to feel. You are on an emotional roller coaster that just keeps going and never ceases to stop.

The most terrifying time I remember looking at my son the day after I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and wondering who was going to take care of him? Sure, I was married, but there is nothing like a mother and that bond.

Coping With Family And Cancer

You can't really say you have cancer and that's all you know when talking to family.  It is hard for others as well, and you have to try and understand that. I remember when the phone rang off the hook daily.

I would get so frustrated because I would seem to get some of the (I thought) dumbest questions.   For instance:  I would get phone calls asking me what I ate. I just couldn't get myself to understand why that type of question would even matter.  I was so angry!

When I was going through all the cancer issues, I really didn't care what I ate for dinner because I didn't feel like eating half the time. I couldn't figure out why they couldn't understand either. Really deep down, I honestly understood and I really knew that everyone was just deeply concerned about me. Now that I think back, I feel like I was being selfish, I couldn't help it .

What I seemed to have found out what worked best for me was when the all the radiation treatments started. As I tried to explain to you earlier, the treatments were a relief.  I felt like something was finally being done to rid of this horrible thing that invaded my body. 

This is how the words "you have cancer" affect you: You want to run, but you don't know where; You want to scream, but it's like no one will hear you; Your adrenaline is rushing through your body so hard, so fast you can literally feel it; You can feel your blood running through your veins, but yet you are numb; You feel like you just died, but yet you are still standing; Your head is spinning and you cannot think nor can you speak.

There is not enough words in the to put together and describe the feelings you have. Just know that there are places to contact for help and there are people that really do care and want to help and you would be astonished and amazed the outpouring of help. As a former cancer patient, I can totally sympathize with  your feelings and all your emotions. Feel free to contact us for support.

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My first early signs of cervical cancer I experienced were intermittent vaginal bleeding and clear vaginal discharge that appeared when I was around 22 years old. I was having vaginal spotting and irregular cycles off and on for several years prior; starting off the age of about 18. I had a MRI when I was about 20 and I found out I had a pituitary tumor; a type of tumor in the pituitary gland. With having the tumor, I nearly stopped having periods and it came almost to a halt.

When I was around 23, I was getting used to not having periods and the doctors said there is absolutely not a chance that I could get pregnant. It was roughly about a year or so later I starting to have sporadic and unusual bleeding, however, I was excited because I thought that I was having periods again.

After a couple of months, I started vomiting and not feeling well. After many tests, I found out I was pregnant. Because I didn't have periods, this was a miracle; we were elated about having a child.

We always wanted children, but again, was told it wasn't possible. I was still bleeding throughout the pregnancy and ended up being put on bed rest.

Another couple months went by after my son was born and I continued spotting, getting blood clots and white thick discharge. I started to be more and more concerned that there was something else going on.

I was finally passed on to another gynecologist and after several stressful trips back and forth, I was told it was my cycle still trying to get regular since I was taking medicine to shrink the pituitary tumor.

I soon felt as I was getting nowhere and no one heard my cries or would listen. I knew something wasn't right and I could feel it in my bones. All the pap smear tests I was having and blood work, just kept coming back repeatedly abnormal (but within normal limits) or negative for any abnormalities such as cancer or dysplasia.

After several phone calls, I was told I was bothering them and nothing was wrong. I was overwhelmed and actually disgusted at this point. I was scared and I had to do something; I had to do it quickly.

I was eventually referred to an OBGYN/Oncologist who said I was advancing rapidly with cancer. He was very adamant and to be honest, arrogant. To verify, he had performed a biopsy, CT scan and a Pet scan. I was receiving mixed signals and mixed diagnoses; I was really getting frustrated with all the different opinions by now. To be honest, I think I had about 4 or 5 opinions by now with all different answers, opinions tests, etc.

Normal Pap Smears and Cervical Cancer

Is it true you can have cancer and have a normal Pap smear? Well, it depends on who's reading the smear and/or type (progression of cancer, etc.). I had numerous normal pap smears, how could I have cervical cancer?

I always knew, or at least I was told, and under the assumption, that pap smears and pelvic exams would find and detect types of female cancers such as: cervical, uterine and vaginal.

I had to go for a another opinion; I just had to. I have been told so many different things and had such high hopes that the place said that I was a bother, was right. I would rather be a bother than have cancer.

I made an appointment with another doctor for the following days ahead. He was supposed to be a specialist and was told to be one of the best. My world was falling apart and I wanted to know for sure if I had cervical cancer. I had gone through another pap and pelvic exam.  When the doctors came into the room, they had smiles on their face and their exact words were: "You are going to be so happy you came here, you don't have cancer, you have endometriosis and it can be cured."

We cried, celebrated and then called the oncologist right when I had returned home. I told him that my pap test was normal and they said I had endometriosis. I was so happy to explain to him he made a mistake that I couldn't see straight. I honestly don't know why I even made the phone call to him-I guess I was trying to make a point and prove him wrong.

For some reason, the next morning, I made an appointment to see the oncologist to go over the results with him. It was like I second guessed the best of the best; I'm not sure why. When it comes down to do or die, it's amazing where you find yourself going with all your gut feelings.

I have never felt so scared as I did when I walked into his office. I really had a deep gut feeling that something really was wrong.  The nurse didn't take me into a regular exam room; it was a large meeting room and I could feel the uneasiness in the air. The doctor walked into the room with the results from his biopsy and also the results from the specialist that said I had endometriosis. He said, "young lady, you do have cervical cancer and you do not have endometriosis. We have to start treating this and treat it promptly". We were so dumbfounded and just confused. In order to prove it to us, he did another larger biopsy and had it sent to Sloan Kettering in Massachusetts.

I had to have 6 weeks for radiation and a total hysterectomy. Because the tumor was so large, I had to do radiation first to shrink the tumor so he could remove all of it. The pathology report came back that I did have stage IIB cervical cancer. There is nothing worse than someone telling you that you have cancer and you may die. The world falls apart around you and yours stops; but everything else is still going with or without you.

There is so much more that went on that I didn't mention. It has been 24 years now that I have been cancer free. Cancer isn't always a death sentence; early detection is the key and listen to your body; it will tell you if something isn't right.  I saved my own life by my persistence and intuition.