Navigating the Storm: Mental Health and the Cancer Journey Vol. 8

In the jungle of this thing we call life, mental health battles were a familiar companion to me. Each day presented new challenges, and every sunrise heralded a fresh battle. But amidst the struggle, I found strength in the knowledge that I was slowly, steadily winning. This journey was well underway even before my cancer diagnosis, and adding cancer to the mix was like stepping into uncharted territory.

Imagine grappling with fear and anxiety that's an integral part of your daily existence. Then, add the weighty decisions of cancer treatment on top of that. It's a blend of emotions that can transport you to a different dimension of uncertainty. When I first faced cancer in 2012, I adopted an approach of unwavering trust in my medical team. I followed their recommendations without question, for the simple reason that I had never fathomed facing cancer in my life. It had never crossed my mind as a possibility.

But when you're thrust into a reality you never anticipated, you lean on the expertise of those who've tread this path before you. In my mind, they'd done this a few more times than I had, so I placed my trust in their guidance and prayed it was the right decision.

At that time, it was a whirlwind. The diagnosis hit me, and then the surgery was scheduled to be just two weeks later, and then my mom and I were on the move. The focus was laser-sharp; it was all about defeating breast cancer.

Fast forward to 2023, and I've gathered valuable insights along this journey. My first tip would be to take a breath and give yourself time to absorb the diagnosis and process it in your way. My second tip is to understand your diagnosis, your prognosis, and your treatment options comprehensively. Be aware of the potential side effects and risks associated with each choice. My third tip is to forge a robust support system and surrender the rest to a higher power.

While I may not be a regular churchgoer, I do believe in a greater force at play, guiding us through life's tumultuous seas. Join me as we navigate the storm of mental health and cancer, learning to sail through the waves with resilience and hope.

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