Everyone reacts to their cancer diagnosis differently. So, there's no one approach to treatment and survival that works for everyone. The path is yours, but it's not an easy journey - you'll need a team, a team that you trust, that can walk along with you, and sometimes fight along with you. Step #1 of surviving cancer, is building your team.
Photo credit: Helena Lopes
Your team is everyone and every resource that helps you on your path to healing.
At first, the team may be the technicians who helped diagnose your cancer. But that quickly moves to a larger team: surgeons, maybe medical and radiation oncologists, but also all the other staff and nurses who will support you as they check your vitals, and make sure you're feeling well.
You may seek a Naturopathic Doctor, who can complement your conventional cancer treatment with other treatments specific to the needs of your immune system.
But it doesn't stop there.
Your team extends to your family and friends, close co-workers, the guy who works at Starbucks and knows just how you like your coffee. There are special people you see every day, and they are a web of support on days when you feel overwhelmed.
There are other cancer patients that are going through what you are going through; most hospitals offer support groups for their cancer patients. It's nice to hear from another person who completely understands how you feel.
If you are inspired to actively make positive changes, that's hard to do on your own, but you can build a team to help you with that.
There are even online forums for cancer patients and survivors, and if you're taking part in a clinical trial, there are usually support forums specific to those trials for patients to share their experiences.
If you are inspired to actively make positive changes, that's hard to do on your own, but you can build a team to help you with that. A physical therapist, who can give you safe exercises to build up strength or balance. A dietician who can help you make small changes to your diet. An old high school friend who helps you quit smoking. Or even a neighbor that you see as you walk your dog, who encourages you to try a new path.
And finally, there are many helpful apps, often completely free, that can help you with anything from tracking your fitness goals and managing your diet, to finding calm through meditation when you need to clear your head.
We all have a much bigger team than we initially realize when we are first diagnosed. It really is amazing.
It's a long journey, but you're not on that journey alone.