The following post is written by Robin Maggio, oncology social worker with Woman’s Hospital.
Being diagnosed with cancer doesn’t mean your life is over. In fact, for many of our cancer patients at Woman’s Hospital, the prognosis means just the opposite.
Sometimes, cancer is one of those things that just happen. Instead of blaming themselves or their bodies, many women find strength in their battle with the disease and empower themselves during treatment.
They acknowledge their diagnosis, accept it and ask themselves, “This is where I am now; what do I want this cancer to mean? What do I want it to accomplish with it? What can I do with it to make it positive?”
Some patients witness a family member who went through chemotherapy 10 or 15 years ago and they thought they would never go through that. But after their own diagnosis, they are forced to go through the same situation and fight the disease, leading to a sense of strength. They think, “I did this that I thought I could never do. What else can I do?”
For some patients, the process of going through cancer treatment is too overwhelming and they can’t really come up to breathe until the treatment is finished. They are so traumatized during the treatment that all they can do is just get through the treatment. But when they’re finished with treatment and they can get back to their life. They look back and see what the cancer means, what message it gave them and what role it played in their life story.
That’s something patients should ask themselves before starting their cancer treatment. In the relatively short time you go through chemotherapy or radiation, ask yourself how do you want the cancer to fit with your life story? How will you write this chapter of your life?